A man has been remanded in custody charged with the murder of a primary school teacher in London earlier this month.

Koci Selamaj, a 36-year-old takeaway delivery driver, appeared at Willesden Magistrates' Court.

His lawyer Aidan Harvey indicated a not-guilty plea to a charge of murdering 28-year-old Sabina Nessa.

She was allegedly attacked as she walked through Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south-east London, on her way to meet a friend on 17 September.

The body of Ms Nessa, who taught a year one class at Rushey Green Primary School in Catford, also in south-east London, was found nearly 24 hours later covered with leaves near a community centre in the park.

Mr Selamaj, who is understood to have been working as a food delivery driver in Eastbourne, but is originally from Albania, appeared in the dock wearing a grey prison-issue tracksuit and blue mask.

Accompanied by two guards, he did not remove his mask, speaking only to confirm his name, address and date of birth during the hearing, which lasted for about two minutes in front of a packed press bench and public gallery.

Prosecutor Umaima Peracha said: "The charge against the defendant is that of murder at a park in Kidbrooke.

"This is an indictable only offence, and I would ask you to send this to the Central Criminal Court (the Old Bailey)."

Koci Selamaj (R) appeared in court alongside a prison guard

Mr Selamaj was not asked to formally enter a plea to a single charge of murder, which states: "On September 17 2021 at Cator Park, Greenwich, London you murdered Miss Sabina Nessa contrary to common law."

But asked by District Judge Denis Brennan for an indication of his plea, his lawyer Aidan Harvey, said: "I have indicated on the form it will be a not-guilty plea."

Mr Harvey earlier told the court that although an Albanian interpreter was in the building, his client's English was "sufficient for today's purposes".

The judge told Mr Selamaj: "We will of course have an interpreter booked for you at the Crown Court but today I send you to the Central Criminal Court.

"Your first hearing there will be, in fact, a bail hearing on September 30 with the plea and trial preparation hearing being on October 26."

He added: "I will remand you in custody until that appearance on September 30 at the Central Criminal Court."

Mr Selamaj, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, was arrested in the seaside town in the early hours of Sunday and charged yesterday.

A light-coloured Nissan Micra was seized in a residential street about 1km away.