A killer branded a "coward" for refusing to attend his sentencing has been jailed for life for the murder of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa.
Koci Selamaj, 36, has been told he will spend a minimum of 36 years behind bars after killing the much-loved 28-year-old with a 2ft metal traffic triangle.
He refused to turn up to hear his fate at the Old Bailey on Friday, in which Mr Justice Sweeney said the assault was a “savage” sexually motivated attack.
The garage worker drove to London from his home in Eastbourne on the south coast to carry out a premeditated attack on a woman after being spurned by his estranged wife.
Selamaj lurked in wait for half an hour in Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south-east London, where he targeted Nessa as she passed through on her way to meet a friend on 17 September last year.
CCTV footage captured the moment Selamaj attacked Nessa by striking her over the head 34 times before carrying her unconscious up a grassy bank.
He pulled up her clothes, removed her tights and underwear, and strangled her before covering her body in grass.
The body of 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.
The Old Bailey was told she was found by a dog walker who initially mistook her body as a "potato sack".
Selamaj was arrested and charged over her death days later.
In February, the Albanian national pleaded guilty to murder.
On Thursday he was branded a “coward” by Nessa’s sister when he refused to come to court to be sentenced.
Jabina Islam said: “You are an awful human being and do not deserve your name to be said.
“You are a disgusting animal.”
She said her sister was an “amazing role model” who was “powerful, fearless, bright and just an amazing soul”.
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.
“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.”
Headteacher Lisa Williams described the “devastating” impact on 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.”
In mitigation, Lewis Power QC said Selamaj’s family who had attended court were in “shock and total disbelief”.
He said his client had provided no explanation for why he killed Ms Nessa, adding: “He simply accepts that he did it.”