Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Man found guilty of Hannah Foster's murder (BBC News)

Watch The News Broadcast At The End Of The Article:

A man has been jailed for life for the "appalling" murder, rape and kidnap of 17-year-old Hannah Foster.
Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, 41, was convicted by a jury at Winchester Crown Court more than five years after Hannah was found strangled.
She had been walking a short distance home after a night out in Southampton when she went missing on 14 March 2003. Her body was found two days later.
Kohli had denied false imprisonment, kidnap, rape and murder.
He snatched the teenager from a street yards from her home in Southampton after she had spent an evening with friends.
The A-level student called 999 in the hope an operator would hear what was happening, but the call was terminated when she did not speak.
Kohli dumped her body next to a road in Allington Lane, West End, and went back home to his wife and two sons.
Four days later, he fled to India, where he led a life on the run for 16 months before being arrested.
In Indian custody he gave a television confession which he later retracted.
After more than four years of campaigning by Hannah's parents Hilary and Trevor Foster, Kohli was finally extradited back to Britain last year to stand trial.
In a victim impact statement read to the court by Hannah's aunt Gill Lewis, Hannah's mother Hilary said she would feel guilt for the rest of her life that she was not there to protect her daughter when she was murdered.
"Kohli ripped out my heart and stamped on it," she said.
"When Trevor and I saw Hannah in the mortuary, I couldn't believe what I was seeing, there must be some mistake.
"The cold, battered and bruised body certainly looked like her, but where was the sparkle in her eyes?"
Speaking earlier to the BBC, Mr and Mrs Foster said: "I remember talking to her and saying, 'We'll find who did this to you'. And that's what we've been focused on doing since."
Mr and Mrs Foster said it was only now after Kohli was convicted that they could properly start to grieve for their daughter.
"The focus has been on her killer, not on Hannah," Mrs Foster said.
Her husband added: "I don't think there is such a thing as closure.
"It doesn't go away, the grief and the pain, they're going to be there until the day we die."
Sentencing Kohli, judge Mr Justice Keith said his crime was aggravated by "Hannah's vulnerability as a young slip of a girl, the terrible and appalling ordeal which Hannah must have gone through before you killed her.
"The wanton way you disposed of her body and the unimaginable grief to which you have subjected her family".
The verdicts were a final victory for Hannah's parents, who had travelled to India four times to keep up the pressure on Indian authorities and get Kohli back to face justice.
DNA match
Their first trip in July 2004 managed to find Kohli after a national appeal for help across India, but the sandwich delivery driver fought his extradition for a further three years.
Kohli spent 16 months on the run, even marrying another woman before he was arrested.
It was not until much later in March that a BBC Crimewatch appeal led his work colleague at Hazelwood Foods, James Dennis, to spot similarities between Kohli and the person police were searching for.
He called police and the jigsaw rapidly fell into place.
DNA belonging to Kohli was found on Hannah with a billion to one match probability and Hannah's DNA and blood was found in Kohli's van when it was seized.
Kohli shook his head only slightly but showed no other emotion as the four unanimous verdicts were delivered on Tuesday.
Hearing the guilty verdict on the first count of murder, Hannah's sister Sarah and her mother sobbed and hugged each other while Hannah's father helped comfort them.
The jury took five-and-a-half hours to reach its decision.
The judge jailed Kohli for life with a minimum tariff of 24 years.
Kohli, dressed in a grey suit and blue shirt and flanked by three security guards, was taken from the court.
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