A man charged with the “predatory” murder of 28-year-old London school teacher Sabina Nessa appeared in court on Thursday.
Koci Selamaj, a 36-year-old garage worker, is alleged to have attacked Nessa as she walked the short distance from her home in southeast London to a local pub, where she was planning to meet friends on September 17.
London’s Old Bailey – the central criminal court of England and Wales – heard from the prosecution that the attack was a “premeditated and predatory” stranger attack, the UK’s PA News reported.
There was no indication that Selamaj knew Nessa.
The exact cause of Nessa’s death is yet to be determined by a post-mortem examination, however she is said to have suffered “extreme violence,” with the court hearing disturbing details of the attack.
Selamaj allegedly struck Nessa repeatedly before carrying her away unconscious. Her body was discovered covered with leaves the following day in Cator Park.
He was arrested in the seaside town of Eastbourne early on Sunday, and was charged with Nessa’s murder on Monday, according to the Metropolitan Police.
Selamaj has been remanded in custody, with a plea hearing set for December 26, according to PA. His lawyer, Aidan Harvey, has indicated that his client plans to plead not guilty to the murder charge.
The UK is facing a reckoning on gender-based violence, with Nessa’s murder one of the latest tragedies to shine a spotlight on the severity of the nation’s problem.
More than 200 women were killed between March 2019 and 2020 in the UK, according to data from the Office for National Statistics and the Scottish government.
CNN’s Ivana Kottasová contributed reporting.