Sister of murdered Sabina Nessa says if family were white they would have been treated better

‘My sister didn’t get as many headlines – maybe was it down to her ethnicity?’ says Jebina Islam

Aisha Rimi
Monday 11 April 2022 10:56
Sabina Nessa's killer jailed for at least 36 years for her murder

The sister of murdered primary school teacher Sabina Nessa has said if her loved ones were a “normal British white family” they would have been treated better.

Jebina Islam claimed her family has received no support from the government and pointing out that the murder of Sarah Everard received more coverage in the press, questioned if ethnicity was the reason.

Koci Selamaj, an “evil” sexual predator, was jailed for at least 36 years for the murder of Ms Nessa on Friday.

In an interview broadcast on Monday morning, Ms Islam said she had had support from the Royal Borough of Greenwich and MP Clive Efford but was critical of “higher up people”.

Ms Islam said: “Priti Patel has done a tweet on Friday and I was not happy about it because all of a sudden she’s using my sister’s name for publicity reasons. And to be honest she has no right.”

Jebina Islam with supporters outside the Old Bailey, after Selamaj was jailed for life for her sister’s murder

Ms Islam also claimed newspapers treated her sister’s murder “differently” from the murder of Ms Everard by police officer Wayne Couzens.

She told told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think it’s just down to our ethnicity, to be honest. And I feel like if we were a normal British white family we would have been treated equally, I guess."

“My sister didn’t get as much headlines, I feel, at the start. Maybe was it down to her ethnicity? She didn’t get the front pages on some of the papers, and in Sarah Everard’s case she did.”

Sabina Nessa was a primary school teacher (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Selamaj had travelled to London from the south coast to carry out the premeditated attack on a random woman on September 17 last year.

On Friday, the killer refused to come to the Old Bailey and was jailed for life in his absence, sparking anger from Ms Islam.

She said the courts should have the power to force people like her sister’s killer to attend proceedings.

Koci Selamaj has been jailed for 36 years (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Ms Islam said: “I was frustrated. We were like: ‘He is such a coward, not facing up to what he has done.’

“It made me angry because I wanted him to hear our impact statement to show how much hurt he’s caused my family.”

Asked if she thinks the court should have the power to force someone to attend, she said: “Definitely. I think it’s so important, the fact that they should be able to make the murderer, the perpetrator, come into court and listen.”

Ms Islam said they should not have the freedom to say they do not want to attend court.

Garage worker Selamaj targeted 28-year-old Ms Nessa as she walked through Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south-east London, to meet a friend at 8.34pm on September 17.

CCTV footage captured the moment he ran up behind her and hit her over the head 34 times with a 2ft metal traffic triangle.

He carried her unconscious body up a grassy bank and out of view.

He then pulled up her clothes, removed her tights and underwear, and strangled her before covering her body in grass.

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

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