Estranged wife of Sabina Nessa killer ‘feared for life after he choked her’

The former partner of Koci Selamaj, who has been convicted of killing teacher Sabina Nessa in London, has reportedly told how she feared for her life after he tried to choke her

Ionela Gherghisan pictured with her estranged husband Koci Selamaj

The estranged wife of the man convicted of killing Sabina Nessa has told how she was “afraid for my life” after he tried to “strangle” her three times, it is reported.

Ionela Gherghisan, told how her former partner Koci Selamaj became violent in the weeks before he killed Ms Nessa but she said she never thought he would go on to kill.

She said she moved out of the family home last August after he attacked her and they had little contact until the day when he murdered Ms Nessa – after she turned down his wish for sex in the car park of the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne where she worked .

Ms Gherghisan, who lived in Eastbourne but has now returned to Romania, reportedly said that he attacked her last August after he missed her phone calls while working.

Selamaj was convicted of killing teacher Sabina Nessa



“There were times when I was scared to stay in the same house with him because I was afraid for my life,” Ms Gherghisan told the Daily Mail.

“He tried to strangle me three times, but the last time was when I became really terrified. He came home from work and put his hands around my neck, yelling: ‘Why didn’t you answer your phone?’ I was in bed, shocked. He snapped out of it and let go of me but he did n’t apologize. I was his first victim of him, but something stopped him from killing me. “

On the day he wanted to kill Ms Nessa, she said that he was acting strangely, reported the Daily Mail.

She said: “He was very anxious and impatient and I had never seen him like that. I saw a bottle of alcohol in his car and could smell it on his breath. He wasn’t drunk, but he was acting very strangely. He tried to have sex with me in his car in the car park, but I said no so he left and I went back to work.”

Selamaj, 36, drove to London from Eastbourne to carry out the attack on Ms Nessa.

The garage worker lurked around Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south-east London, where he targeted 28-year-old Ms Nessa as she passed through on her way to meet a friend on September 17 last year.

The court heard Selamaj killed Ms Nessa after being spurned by his estranged wife


Metropolitan Police)

CCTV footage captured the moment Selamaj Ms Nessa by striking her over the head 34 times with a 2ft-long metal traffic triangle, before carrying her unconsciously up a grassy bank.

The body of Ms Nessa, who taught a year one class at Rushey Green Primary School in Catford, was found nearly 24 hours later near a community center in the park.

Selamaj, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, was arrested in the seaside town and charged over her death days later.

In February, the Albanian national pleaded guilty to murder.

Ms Nessa’s parents Abdur Rouf and Azibun Nessa said in a statement: “You had no right to take her away from us in such a cruel way.

A court sketch of Selamaj appearing via video-link from Wormwood Scubs



“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.”

Head teacher Lisa Williams described the “devastating” impact on Ms Nessa’s school.

On her class of 30 students, she said: “For the rest of their lives, these young children will never be able to comprehend why someone murdered their teacher and the world in which they live is not safe for them to play in a park. “

Mr Justice Sweeney said the “inevitable” sentence would be life in prison, with a starting point of 30 years.

I have adjourned the sentencing until 10am on Friday.

The defendant’s Nissan Micra was tracked by ANPR cameras and cell site evidence on the day he traveled to London.

Sabina Nessa’s sister Jebina Yasmin Islam wipes away a tear outside the Old Bailey



He used his bank card at Sainsbury’s to buy a rolling pin, chilli flakes and an energy drink.

He rejected the rolling pin as a weapon in favor of the traffic triangle, which he was to use to attack Ms Nessa.

He entered Cator Park shortly after 8pm and lay in wait for half-an-hour before Ms Nessa arrived en route to The Depot bar where she was due to meet a friend.

In grainy footage played in court, Selamaj was seen running up behind Ms Nessa and launching a ferocious attack with the 2ft long traffic triangle.

As he carried her up a grassy hill, they went out of shot for 20 minutes.

Before leaving the park, he picked up pieces of the warning triangle and used wet wipes to clean a park bench near to where he launched his initial attack.

En route back to the south coast, Selamaj stopped in Tunbridge Wells in Kent and dumped the warning triangle in the River Teise.

Police said Selamaj appeared to be “calm and collected” on his arrest.

On being cautioned through a translator, Selamaj said: “What will happen if I open up now and say everything?”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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