Sabina was struck repeatedly over the head
Koci Selamaj has accepted responsibility for the killing of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa.
The garage worker is alleged to have travelled from his home in Eastbourne to London to carry out what the prosecution says was a “pre-meditated and predatory” attack.
Sabina had walked through Cator Park in Kidbrooke to meet a friend on September 17, 2021.
However, Selamaj allegedly struck the 28-year-old with a 2ft long weapon.
Sabina’s body was found nearly 24 hours later covered in grass near a community centre in the park.
According to prosecutors, Sabina’s attacker was a complete stranger to her.
Alison Morgan QC, prosecuting, said the evidence indicated Sabina was struck repeatedly over the head with an object, possibly a lump of wood.
Eight days after the attack, Selamaj was arrested and charged with murder.
On December 16, 2021, Selamaj appeared at the Old Bailey for a plea and directions hearing.
The defendant entered a formal not guilty plea to murder. But it was indicated on his behalf that he accepted responsibility for killing Sabina Nessa.
Judge Mr Justice Wall addressed defence barrister Aidan Harvey and asked:
“Is there any dispute your client killed Ms Nessa?”
Mr Harvey replied:
“No there isn’t. He accepts he killed Sabina Nessa.”
The judge set a further hearing on February 25, 2022.
He set a trial date for June 7, 2022, and said it could last up to five weeks. The defendant was remanded into custody.
In October 2021, around 200 people gathered in Eastbourne to pay tribute to Sabina and to protest the “crisis of violence against women”.
The peaceful demonstration was marked by cheers and applause as those addressing the crowd spoke out against victim-blaming.
Later the sky was lit with the lights from dozens of mobile phones.
Sabina’s sister Jebina Yasmin Islam broke down as she addressed crowds.
She said: “Words cannot describe how we are feeling, this feels like we are stuck in a bad dream and can’t get out of it – our world is shattered, we are simply lost for words.
“No family should go through what we are going through.”
The vigil came after public outrage and debate over women’s safety and policing in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard, who was killed by a serving Met Police officer.