Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, who abducted, raped and killed teenager Hannah Foster on March 14, 2003, and was arrested from West Bengal on July 15 that year, was found guilty of “brutal murder”.
It just took a day’s deliberations for jurors to reach the unanimous verdict of 24 years’ imprisonment. Forty-one-year-old Kohli stood motionless in the dock as the foremen pronounced that he was found guilty.
Hannah, a A-level student, was snatched from the street by Kohli as she walked to her Portwood home after a night-out with friends. Hannah was last seen at 22.43 pm on CCTV. At 23.00 pm, Hampshire police control room received a call from Hannah's mobile phone. Hannah was silent, but Kohli’s voice and the noise of a car engine were heard.
Kohli grabbed bundled her into a van that he used for delivering sandwiches for a company in Empress Road, Southampton.
Hannah’s body was found after two days when a young boy discovered it in brambles. Following a countrywide furor, a major murder hunt was launched. But by that time, Kohli had reached India.
A week later, the police received a call from his former boss, naming Kohli. Kohli's wife Shaninder Kaur was then interviewed. But Kohli called his wife from India, presumably from Chandigrah, and then went on the run.
He was caught when Hannah's parents made an emotional visit to India in July 2004 to appealed for information on Kohli. A £70,000 reward was announced and a special call centre opened. within hours, several came with information on Kohli.
He was finally arrested by the Indian police at a bus stop in the Kalimpong region of Darjeeling district in West Bengal as he waited to cross the border to Nepal.