Sabina Nessa's murderer 'an animal' say her family as they face a life sentence of grief

ITV News Reporter Chloe Keedy has been at the Old Bailey following the case

For two days running, Koci Selamaj refused to come to the Old Bailey to be sentenced in person for the murder of 28-year-old Sabina Nessa. 

But Sabina’s family were there, listening, sometimes crying and trying to comfort one another as the harrowing details of her death were read out in court. 

Sabina’s older sister Jabina Yasmin Islam put her head in her hands and wept as the judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, spoke about how Selamaj had robbed both them and Sabina of her life.

"She died in a way that no one should and that will haunt them all for the rest of their lives."

He said that Sabina Nessa had "every right to be walking through that park" and did not deserve to have her life taken "in such a heinous and cowardly way."

Koci Selamaj pictured walking in Pegler Square, London SE3, on the evening Sabina Nessa was attacked Credit: Metropolitan Police/PA

CCTV footage, which was played in court on Thursday, shows how Selamaj ran up behind Sabina before launching a frenzied assault, hitting her 34 times over the head with a metal traffic warning triangle. He had been waiting in the park for nearly half an hour looking for a lone woman to attack. 

Sabina’s family left the room when that footage was played, but in a statement later read out in court, her parents Abdur Rouf and Azibun Nessa addressed her killer directly. 

"You had no right to take her away from us in such a cruel way," they said.

"You are not a human being - you are an animal. Sabina died in a way that no one should die and this will torment us for the rest of our lives."

They spoke of their kind, generous, funny and determined daughter. A "girly girl" who loved to shop. A devoted teacher who loved her job and the children in her class. They said "she had a purpose in life and it was to teach".

Sabina was robbed of her future by a stranger. He will spend the next 36 years in prison for what he did. But Sabina’s family will have to live with it for a lifetime.

"The thought of not knowing why you carried out this attack will be forever in our minds," said her parents.