Sabina Nessa was murdered on Friday 17 September 2021 while walking through a South-East London Park at night.
Today, her killer, 38-year-old Koci Selamaj, was sentenced to life in prison.
The 28-year-old primary school teacher was killed in a premeditated attack of "truly evil violence" during her five-minute walk to the pub to meet friends.
CCTV footage shows Selamaj running at Nessa and beating her over the head 34 times with a metal traffic triangle until she was unconscious, before dragging her away. He then pulled up her clothes, removed her tights and strangled her.
Her body was discovered on Saturday 18 September near Kidbrooke's OneSpace community centre in London.
Koci Selamaj, who had a history of violence against his wife, did not know Nessa and is thought to have targeted her "because she was an attractive young woman on her own".
The judge added that Selamaj "took considerable pleasure in what he did".
"Sabina was the wholly blameless victim of an absolutely appalling murder which was entirely the fault of the defendant, who has added to the sense of insecurity people – particularly women – have to live with in our society when walking or travelling alone, especially at night," announced Justice Nigel Sweeney.
"Sabina’s was a life that mattered, a life that didn’t deserve to be taken in such a heinous and cowardly way.
"She had a right to be walking through the park, all glammed up, and going to enjoy herself after a long week at work. The defendant robbed her and her family of her life."
While Sabina Nessa's family gathered at the Old Bailey to hear the verdict, Selamaj refused to attend his sentencing in person or by video link. His lawyer also confirmed that he had not expressed remorse.
Mr Justice Sweeney sentenced Selamaj to life in prison, with a minimum term of 36 years.
Nessa's parents, Abdur Rouf and Azibun Nessa, addressed the "absent killer" in a statement.
"You had no right to take her away from us in such a cruel way," read their heart-breaking statement. "The moment the police officer came to our house and told her she was found dead our world shattered into pieces.
"How could you do such a thing to an innocent girl walking by, minding her own business? You are not a human being, you are an animal."
We will continue to update this story.
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Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.
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