Koci Selamaj will serve at least 36 years for the murder of Sabina Nessa in September 2021 in Cator Park, Kidbrooke – now CCTV shows the killer was spotted lurking in a hotel lobby where his wife lived before the crime
Sabina Nessa’s killer lurked in a five-star hotel lobby just hours before conducting his brutal “pre-meditated sexually motivated murder.”
Koci Selamaj was today sentenced to life in prison, with Mr Justice Sweeney ordering him to serve a minimum of 36 years.
The 36-year-old suspect was captured on CCTV footage stalking the hotel lobby of a five-star hotel where his wife lived just hours before setting his murderous sights on 28-year-old Sabina.
His wife was a victim of repeated abuse and had already left their home, and was living at The Grand Hotel in Eastbourne.
Garage worker Selamaj planned the savage murder after being rejected by his wife in his home town of Eastbourne.
He murdered the primary school teacher just weeks after his wife left him due to his domestic abuse, including “throttling” her at least three times.
Selamaj tried to persuade his wife to have sex with him just hours before his attack.
But he was rejected, prompting him to kill Sabina in Cator Park, Kidbrooke, on September 17.
The 36-year-old booked a £325 per night room at The Grand Hotel in Eastbourne, located five minutes from his home, for the night of the murder.
Staff raised the alarm with police, phoning 101, when he booked in hours before the murder.
Detective Sergeant Mark Johnson said “They were a bit uneasy about him.
“They knew he lived close by so there was something not quite right about him.”
Selamaj had booked the five-star hotel three days before the murder.
His reservation was for the night of September 17 and he arrived earlier in the day to check-in.
After checking into the Grand Hotel, Selamaj had sent a Whatsapp to his ex-wife and had tried to engage her in sexual activity.
When she refused, Ms Morgan QC told the court today that he had gotten into his car and spent some time driving around Brighton “looking for someone to have a sexual encounter with”.
However, he “must have abandoned” that idea and changed directions to drive towards London.
CCTV footage taken at the hotel shows Selamaj lurking in the hotel just hours before the crime.
He spoke to the hotel staff and was seen walking through the lobby wearing the same clothes as the suspect later seen on CCTV in Kidbrooke.
At about 6pm that day, Selamaj contacted his stranded partner.
In a statement, she said he appeared “very agitated” when they met at his car near the hotel.
She said: “I think that he wanted to have sex in the car. I don’t know what was bothering him, but he was very agitated.”
She refused to join him in the back seat and left, the court was told.
CCTV was shown to the court of Selamaj browsing the aisles at Sainsbury’s in Pegler Square before collecting a rolling pin. He also bought chilli powder, an energy drink and a bag for life.
Ms Morgan said: “In short, he had picked up the rolling pin, gone back to his car and realized that the better weapon would be this emergency weapon.”
He then returned to the hotel after committing his horrific crime, before checking out in the morning.
Detective Chief Insp Neil John told reporters: “Police can’t go to everything.
“The police operator did the right thing as in that moment there was no cause for any great concern.
“The operator informed the staff that the call had been reported, and if there was more cause for concern to call the police back and they would reassess.”
Selamaj’s wife was seen weeping among crowds gathered at a vigil in Eastbourne in the weeks after Sabina’s tragic death.
The weeping woman is Ionela Selamaj – the wife of Sabina’s killer, the Daily Mail reports.
The friend comforting Ionela in the picture said she met her there by chance.
She said: “She tapped me on the shoulder and started sobbing and I hugged her.
“She cried all evening, until late at night, when we went by the sea and threw flowers in the water.
“She kept saying she doesn’t understand what he had against Sabina and that it would have made more sense if he’d killed her — not Sabina.”
A Sussex Police spokeswoman said: “Police were contacted around 4.40pm on Friday (September 17) to reports of a disagreement between a man and staff at a hotel in Eastbourne earlier in the day, around the payment of a room.
“The matter was resolved and police were not required to attend.”