Sabina Nessa’s family called her killer a ‘coward’ when he refused to appear in court to be convicted of her murder on Thursday.
Koci Selamaj, 36, traveled to London from his home in Eastbourne, on the south coast, to carry out a premeditated attack on a woman after being rejected by his estranged wife.
The mechanic was hiding around Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south-east London, where he targeted Nessa, 28, as she passed by to meet a friend on September 17 last year.
CCTV footage captured the moment Selamaj attacked Nessa, hitting her in the head 34 times with a 2ft-long metal warning triangle, before carrying her unconscious to a grassy bank.
He pulled up her clothes, took off her pantyhose and underwear and strangled her before covering her body with grass.
The body of Nessa, who taught a first grade class at Rushey Green Primary School in Catford, was found almost 24 hours later near a community center in the park.
Selamaj, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, was arrested in the seaside town and charged with her death a few days later.
In February, the Albanian national pleaded guilty to murder.
On Thursday he was called a ‘coward’ by Nessa’s sister when he refused to appear in court to be sentenced.
Jabina Islam said: “You are a horrible human being and you don’t deserve your name to be spoken. You are a disgusting animal.
She said her sister was an “incredible role model” who was “powerful, fearless, brilliant and just an amazing soul”.
Nessa’s parents, Abdur Rouf and Azibun Nessa, said in a statement: “You had no right to take her away from us in such a cruel way.
“The moment the police officer came to our house and told her she had been found dead, our world fell apart.
“How could you do such a thing to an innocent girl passing by, minding her own business.” You are not a human being, you are an animal.
Principal Lisa Williams described the “devastating” impact on Nessa’s school.
Of her class of 30 students, she said: “For the rest of their lives, these young children will never be able to understand why someone murdered their teacher and the world they live in is not safe for them to play. in a park. ”
By way of mitigation, Lewis Power QC said Selamaj’s family, who appeared in court, were “in complete shock and disbelief”.
He said his client offered no explanation as to why he killed Nessa, adding, “He just accepts that he did it.”
Judge Sweeney said the “inevitable” sentence would be life in prison, with a starting point of 30 years. He adjourned sentencing until 10 a.m. Friday.
Earlier, prosecutor Alison Morgan QC said Selamaj had been violent towards her ex-partner in the past, including strangling her on several occasions.
Three days before Nessa’s attack, the accused had booked a room at the five-star Grand Hotel in Eastbourne, East Sussex, just five minutes from his home.
On September 17, he checked into the hotel and, two hours before the murder, contacted his former partner in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade her to have sex with him.
The defendant’s Nissan Micra was followed by vehicle recognition cameras and evidence from mobile phone sites traveling to London.
He entered Cator Park shortly after 8 p.m. and waited half an hour before Nessa arrived en route to the Depot bar, where she was to meet a friend.
In grainy footage shown in court, Selamaj was seen running behind Nessa and launching a fierce attack.
On the way back to the south coast, Selamaj stopped at Tunbridge Wells in Kent and threw the gun into the River Teise.
Police said Selamaj appeared to be “calm and collected” during his arrest. Told by an interpreter, Selamaj said, “What if I open up now and say it all?”