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Kohli denies Hannah murder charge

world Updated: Dec 11, 2007 04:03 IST

PTI
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Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, who was extradited from India in connection with kidnap, rape and murder of 17-year old British school girl Hannah Foster, on Monday pleaded not guilty to the charges at a court in London.

Kohli appeared at Winchester Crown Court where he denied murdering Foster four years ago in Southampton. The 39-year-old fled to India shortly after Foster's body was found and was later identified by investigators as a prime suspect in the murder case.

After Indian police failed to apprehend Kohli, Foster's parents personally went to India and made a public appeal for information of Kohli's whereabouts.

During their 10-day visit, Foster's parents held a series of press conferences and opened a telephone 'hotline' asking the public to provide any information they might have about Kohli's whereabouts.

Kohli was arrested five days after their arrival in India - on July 15, 2004 - in West Bengal's Darjeeling district while trying to flee to Nepal.

On July 28, 2004, Kohli admitted to having raped and murdered Foster in an interview to a private television channel.

Confessing to his crime, Kohli said that he was forced to kill Foster after raping her because she refused to cover up his crime. In August 2004, he retracted his confessional statement saying it was "not by my own will".

Kohli was held in judicial custody in India pending extradition to the UK. A final decision to extradite him to the UK was handed down on June 8, 2007.

Hannah was killed as she walked home from a night out in Southampton. Her body was found two days later. A post-mortem examination revealed she had been raped and strangled.

In the Court today, Kohli pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, kidnap, rape and false imprisonment of Hannah Foster between March 13 and March 17, 2003.

The case was adjourned for a trial to be held next year.