A man has appeared in court charged with the “predatory” murder of elementary school teacher Sabina Nessa.
Garage worker Koci Selamaj, 36, allegedly assaulted Nessa, 28, while walking through Cator Park in Kidbrooke, southeast London, on her way to meet a friend on September 17.
Her attacker is alleged to have used a 2-foot-long weapon to repeatedly hit her before knocking her unconscious. The body of Nessa, who taught a freshman class at Rushey Green Elementary School in Catford, was found covered in leaves near a community center in the park.
Prosecutor Alison Morgan QC told the court that it was an attack by a strange “predator” and there was no suggestion that the defendant knew Nessa.
A post-mortem examination has not yet confirmed the exact cause of his death, but the attack is said to have involved “extreme violence.”
Selamaj, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, was arrested in the seaside town in the early hours of Sunday and charged with her murder on Monday.
Originally from Albania, Selamaj appeared at the Old Bailey on Thursday before the London Registrar, Judge Mark Lucraft QC.
During the hearing, the defendant, who had already indicated that he would deny the murder, spoke to confirm his name and date of birth before a timetable was set for the case.
Dressed in a green and yellow prison t-shirt, he appeared in court via a video link from Wormwood Scrubs assisted by an Albanian interpreter in court.
Judge Lucraft scheduled a guilty plea hearing for December 16 and placed the defendant in pretrial detention.