A 36-year-old man has appeared in court charged with the murder of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa.
Koci Selamaj was arrested in Eastbourne, East Sussex, in the early hours of Sunday, and a silver-coloured Nissan Micra was seized in a residential street around half a mile away. The suspect is thought to be originally from Eastern Europe and is understood to have been working as a food delivery driver.
A worker in a newsagent near the flat where the man was living said he would come into the shop to top up his phone or energy key, but did not make conversation, saying: “He was so quiet, he didn’t say anything, just came to top up and left.” As detectives continued to question the former pizza delivery driver, restaurants close to where he was arrested on suspicion of murdering Miss Nessa were told not to empty their bins.
The man, who lived with his girlfriend, worked as a Domino’s delivery driver until July this year, according to locals. Police raided his flat at 3 am and recovered a Nissan Micra car several hours later from a nearby street. As questioning of the suspect continued, forensics officers and specialist detectives remained at the scene.
One neighbour said: “It’s been a huge shock. His girlfriend was a character. She fed the seagulls and talked to them. He was always helpful. A couple of times he would help me with the buggy and my child. I’ve been here for two years and he was always there during that time.”
The man was arrested on suspicion of murdering 28-year-old Miss Nessa and his detention followed an appeal in which Scotland Yard released CCTV footage of a man they wanted to question. Miss Nessa, whose body was found in a park just yards from her home in Kidbrooke, south-east London, on Sept 18, was a Year One teacher at Rushey Green Primary School in Catford. She is thought to have been attacked as she left her flat at around 8.30 pm on Sept 17 to visit a local bar where she was due to meet a friend. Her body was discovered at around 5.30 pm the following day in Cator Park hidden under leaves.
The murder has reignited the debate around women’s safety on the streets of London, and hundreds gathered in Kidbrooke for a vigil to mark Miss Nessa’s life. Sabina Nessa’s sister, Jebina Yasmin Islam, broke down as she addressed crowds at the vigil, saying: “I just want to say thank you to everyone who came today to show support for my sister. We have lost an amazing, caring, beautiful sister, who left this world far too early. The vigil was organised by members of the local community, and supported by Reclaim These Streets, a campaign group established after the murder of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, in March.
The Duchess of Cambridge was also among those who paid tribute to Miss Nessa, saying that she was “saddened by the loss of another innocent woman on our streets”.
Miss Nessa’s uncle Shahin Miah said in a statement read at the East London Mosque: “There is no place for suffering like this”, and added: “We are grateful to all who have been hurt, protested, sympathised with, and expressed concern for the safety of women throughout the United Kingdom.”