Hundreds hold candlelit vigil for teacher Sabina Nessa in alleged killer’s hometown

Hundreds of people gathered tonight to pay tribute to teacher Sabina Nessa.

Crowds came together in Eastbourne, East Sussex – where the man charged with her murder lived – to honour the 28-year-old.

The crowd held pictures of Sabina and placards with messages such as “she was just walking home” and “stop killing us”.

Speaker Natasha Peacock, one of the organisers of the event, told the crowd: “Women are fighting for their lives and considering the risk of going out at night and potentially being attacked, raped and murdered.

“This is a crisis, how many more of us need to die before this is taken seriously?”

Sabina was killed as she walked to a pub near her home in Kidbrooke, south east London, on September 17.

She was walking through a park two minutes from her home when she was allegedly attacked.

Koci Selamaj, 36, has been charged with her murder.

Sabina’s death came six months after the murder of Sarah Everard at the hands of Met Police officer Wayne Couzens.

Selamaj appeared at Willesden magistrates’ court for a two-minute hearing on Tuesday, as the Mirror tracked down where he spent some of his childhood in Albania.

He was wearing a grey sweater and grey jogging bottoms.

Selamaj, of Eastbourne, East Sussex, was asked to confirm his name, address and date of birth by the legal advisor.

He then indicated a not guilty plea for one count of murder through his representative, Aidan Harvey.

District judge Denis Brennan remanded Selamaj in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on Thursday.

Ms Nessa, 28, was found just a few minutes’ walk from her home on September 18.

Her body was discovered by a dog walker under a pile of leaves in Cator Park, Kidbrooke, south-east London.

She has been making her way to the Depot bar the evening before to meet a friend, it is thought – but never arrived.

A manhunt then followed, before detectives arrested Selamaj at an address in Eastbourne at 3am on Sunday.

Two other men, aged 38 and 41, who were arrested by police investigating the death of Ms Nessa have been released under investigation.

In Selamaj’s home country of Albania the Mirror visited the home where he spent some of his childhood.

The defendant was born in the town of Elbasan, an hour’s drive from the capital of Tirana.

Neighbours said he is one of four children, two boys and two girls, and that he spent a short amount of time living in the flat with his parents before moving abroad.

“We had no problems with him – from any of the children,” one told the Mirror.

“They were all normal.”

Selamaj’s dad Bashkim, 73, is a retired builder and his mum Tefta, 70, was a communist-era farmer, neighbours said.

Bashkim and Tefta are living in Tirana but still own the flat in Elbasan.

Ms Nessa’s death has prompted an outpouring of grief and anger.

Her family spoke about their loss at a vigil on Friday evening held in the park where her body was found.

Jebina Yasmin Islam, Ms Nessa’s sister, broke down as she addressed a crowds of hundreds at the candlelit ceremony.

She said: “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.”

She added: “Sabina loved her family.

“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.”

The Duchess of Cambridge has also commented on the tragedy.

She said online: “I am saddened by the loss of another innocent young woman on our streets.

“My thoughts are with Sabina’s family and friends, and all those who have been affected by this tragic event.”

Shanin Miah, Ms Nessa’s uncle, said: “We don’t want what happened to Sabina to happen to anyone else.”