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Maninder Pal Singh KOHLI





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Kidnapping - Rape
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: March 14, 2003
Date of arrest: July 15, 2004 (India)
Date of birth: November 6, 1967
Victim profile: Hannah Foster, 17
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Southampton, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment, with a recommended minimum term of 24 years on November 25, 2008

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The murder of Hannah Foster

Hannah Foster (31 August 1985 - 14 March 2003) was a 17-year-old British student who was kidnapped, raped and murdered after a night out in Southampton in March 2003. Foster was murdered by an Indian immigrant Maninder Pal Singh Kohli. Her body was found in nearby West End, two days after she disappeared in Southampton.


Foster, a promising A-Level student who had been preparing to study medicine at university, was abducted half a mile from her home in Hampshire on 14 March 2003. Having been abducted by Kohli, Foster secretly made a call to emergency services in the hope they would realise she was in trouble. On the 999 tape, Foster can be heard speaking to a man with an Asian accent. The tape was played during the later trial at Winchester Crown Court on Wednesday 15 October 2008.

Foster's body was found in a country lane just outside Southampton two days later. A post-mortem examination revealed she had been raped and strangled.

Kohli fled to India shortly after Foster's body was found, and was later identified by investigators as a prime suspect in the case. After Indian police failed to apprehend Kohli, Foster's parents personally went to India and made a public appeal for information of his whereabouts. During their 10-day visit, Foster's parents held a series of press conferences as well as opening a telephone "hotline". Their visit soon became a subject of interest in the Indian press, and Kohli was arrested five days after their arrival. Hampshire police announced a reward of INR 5,000,000 to anyone whose clues led to the arrest of Kohli.

The key to the arrest of Kohli was information from taxi driver Jason Lepcha, hired by Kohli partly because of his understanding of English. Lepcha received a reward of INR 367,000. He used all this money to establish a school in Hannah's name. When visiting Darjeeling in 2006, Hannah's parents unwittingly hired Lepcha as their driver, and heard his story. On their return to England, they worked with others to set up a registered charity in memory of Hannah which supports Lepcha's school.

Arrest and trial

Kohli was arrested on 15 July 2004 in West Bengal's Darjeeling district while trying to flee to Nepal. While in police custody, Kohli stated he was "tired of running". On 28 July 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 United Kingdom; a final decision to extradite him to the U.K. was handed down on 8 June 2007. On 28 July 2007 Kohli arrived in the UK after being extradited.

Kohli was charged with the murder, kidnap, and rape of Hannah Foster after landing at Heathrow, following his extradition from India. He was also charged with manslaughter, false imprisonment, and perverting the course of justice.

On 10 December 2007, Kohli entered a plea of not guilty to the charges of kidnapping, rape and murder at Winchester Crown Court, but he was convicted on 25 November 2008 of all charges and sentenced to 'life' in prison.


On 25 November 2008, Kohli, then aged 41, was found guilty of all charges at Winchester Crown Court and sentenced to life imprisonment, with a recommended minimum term of 24 years, less two years for time already served in the UK on remand. Hannah's family expressed their disappointment in the sentence, hoping that the killer would spend the rest of his life in prison.

Under the trial judge's recommendation, Kohli is expected to remain in prison until at least 2030 and the age of 63.


Man found guilty of Hannah murder

November 25, 2008

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, who denied all the charges, was convicted 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.

Her father, Trevor Foster, called Kohli a "cold, calculating and ruthless man".

"Today we are feeling an overwhelming sense of relief at the verdict in this trial," he added.

"We have long realised that Kohli is a cold, calculating and totally ruthless man and has destroyed so many people's life without a second thought."

On the run

Kohli 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.

While in custody in India he gave a televised 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 Jill 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 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."

'Wanton disposal'

Sentencing Kohli to serve a minimum of 24 years at Winchester Crown Court, 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 came at the end of a long campaign by 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.

Their first trip in July 2004 managed to locate 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.

Det Supt Alan Betts said: "Kohli did everything he could to avoid justice, and it was only through the determination of Hannah's parents, Hampshire Police, and colleagues in India that he was located and arrested.

"Our thoughts today are with Hannah's family. They, and we, may get some satisfaction that Kohli has been convicted, but it will not bring Hannah back."

Alastair Nesbitt, chief crown prosecutor for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, said: "It was important to bring Hannah's killer to justice.

"We did consider whether we would deploy an alleged confession but came to the conclusion we could not overcome the hurdles to make it admissible to a court in England."


Hannah Foster's killer: Maninder Pal Singh Kohli

The killer of Hannah Foster, Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, did everything in his power to avoid capture after killing the teenager

By Caroline Gammell -

November 25, 2008

The self-confessed gambling addict fled from Britain to India, changed his name, married bigamously and adopted the role of caring charity worker.

But the sandwich delivery man could not escape his violent past and a global manhunt which saw him brought to justice for the rape and murder of 17-year-old Hannah Foster.

Four days after dumping the teenager's lifeless body in brambles near Southampton in March 2003, Kohli left his family and escaped to his country of birth, India.

Begging money from his father-in-law purportedly to visit his dying mother - he caught an early morning coach to London's Heathrow airport and flew to Delhi on March 18.

There his younger brother Ishtpreet, an Indian police constable, drove him to the family home in Mohali, near Chandigarh, 150 miles north of Delhi.

Kohli, 41, was born in Chandigarh on November 6, 1967, attended university in Patiala and only moved to Britain in 1993 for an arranged marriage with Shalinder Kaur.

They had two children, but theirs was not a happy marriage, with neighbours telling of rows coming from their terraced house in Southampton.

When Kohli fled, he still owed work colleague James Dennis 16,000 which he had used to feed his gambling.

On return to India, Kohli lived with his elderly father Jagit, and brothers Ishtpreet and Amritpal. He spent 10 days believing he might not be found.

But a long distance call from Shalinder's parents in Southampton changed that. Kohli was told Hannah's murder had featured on a BBC Crimewatch appeal and that he was a suspect.

On March 28, he slipped out of his father's house and disappeared, six days before an arrest warrant was issued in his name and sent to India.

The killer moved to Bangalore for seven months, but sightings were also reported in Delhi, Mysore, Chennai and Dehradun in Uttar Pradesh, northern India.

Keeping a low profile - shaving off his beard and long hair - Kohli finally moved to Darjeeling in west Bengal in February 2004.

He became Dr Mike Dennis, a Red Cross worker who specialised in administering hepatitis vaccinations at a camp near Kalimpong in Darjeeling.

The camp was run by a man called Oath Das and Kohli soon focused his attentions on his employer's daughter, Bharati.

After a whirlwind romance of just four months, the couple got married - Kohli illegally for a second time - much to the surprise of her family and without the knowledge of his.

Bharati, a music teacher, said of her new husband: "I loved him so much. He was so kind and good with the children we were vaccinating at the camp."

But their newly married contentment lasted all of three weeks, destroyed when Kohli spotted photographs of his face splashed across the newspapers, alongside a five-million-rupee (60,000) reward put up by Hannah's parents.

Taking his new wife, but refusing to tell her what was wrong, he fled yet again and tried to cross the border into Nepal.

They travelled to the town of Siliguri, before moving to neighbouring Panighatta, where finally on July 14, 2004, - 17 months to the day after Hannah was abducted - Kohli was arrested at a bus stop.

Taken into custody and transferred back to Chandigarh, the killer took the unusual step of appearing on national television to confess his crime.

His desire to tell the truth did not last long and he soon retracted the confession, fighting a long extradition process through the courts.

In custody, he was questioned about the rape of a Swiss diplomat in south Delhi in October 2003.

The woman was attacked in a cinema car park by two Indian men who spoke fluent English and an e-fit was produced.

Although Kohli was interrogated, he was never charged. He was also wanted on suspicion of a fake passport.

Finally, after more than three years, Kohli was brought back to the UK for trial. None of his family made the trip from India to support him.


Hannah Foster: Killer's confession

There was a moment - four years ago - when the killer of Hannah Foster, Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, decided to tell the truth

By Caroline Gammell -

November 25, 2008

To explain why he grabbed teenager Hannah, forced her into a van, raped her, strangled her and then dumped her body in a Hampshire woodland in the spring of 2003.

Finally arrested after 17 months on the run in India, he said he was tired of hiding, tired of pretending to be innocent.

So, in July 2004, Kohli sat in a police station in Chandigarh, north of Delhi, in the presence of Punjab inspector Sumedh Singh Saini and confessed.

The interview, in which he said he wanted to "unburden" his soul, was broadcast on New Delhi TV and seen by millions.

Within days he had retracted it, forcing a media blackout in the UK, but the details of his confession kept from the jury in Winchester - can finally be disclosed.

Calmly recalling the events of March 14, 2003, Kohli said he had been drinking in a pub in Southampton when he spied Hannah.

"I was totally drunk. She was crossing the road when I was coming out, she was very pretty.

"I went to my car, took a U-turn and abducted her. I took her to a deserted place and raped her.

"I told her I felt very, very guilty. I told her I had two children and that it was the first time. I told her I am not that type of man.

"(But) she threatened to turn me in and tell her parents. Scared, for I know Asians would never be forgiven such a crime in England, I held her head from the back and I strangled her.

"I was out of my mind. It was only later that I realised I had destroyed my life."

During the half hour interview, Kohli switched occasionally into Punjabi, as he told how he did not return home until 3am.

"When my wife asked me why I had returned so late, I said I got into a brawl with some men in the pub. I never told my wife about the incident."

Kohli fled to India, where he relied on "brotherly love" for a few days before crossing the country to Darjeeling where he "wanted to change my life".

When asked about why, finally, he had decided to confess, he replied: "I am unburdening myself now because one day I have to face God. I want to open my heart.

"I know I have done wrong, I lied when I came back to India. I was tired of running and hiding and I knew I'd be caught sooner or later.

"Now I am ready to face the consequences and the law. I feel light, unburdened."

When asked what he would say to his murdered victim's parents, Kohli could give no reply.


Tragic 999 call of murdered Hannah Foster

Hannah Foster called the emergency services on the night of her abduction hoping they would understand she was in danger

October 16, 2008

But because she did not speak the call was eventually disconnected. Here is the full transcript of her final words:

Male voice: You belong this country?

Hannah Foster: Yeah

Male voice: England.

Hannah: Yeah I'm English.


My name.

Male voice: Huh

Hannah: My name is Sarah (the court has already heard that Hannah's younger sister is called Sarah).

Male voice: Sarah.

Hannah: Yeah.

Male voice: I want (there is then inaudible speech which is disputed by the prosecution and defence in the case).

Hannah: 15.

Male voice: 15.

Hannah: Yeah.

Male voice: What, 15?

Hannah: 15.

There is then some unclear speech which could have been Male voice: I took this house.

Hannah: That's my, my road ... that was where I live.

Male voice: Live there.

Hannah: Yes.

The male voice can then be heard speaking but too quietly to be heard properly.

Hannah: Yeah.

Male voice: There.

Unidentifiable speech sound.

Male voice: Held (unclear) your head down please.

Hannah: Sorry ... no.

Male voice: Where you live? Which number you live?

Hannah: Huh ... listen .... anything ....

During the speech the operator is asking which service Hannah wants and then the line goes to an automated message from the operator as Hannah is not directly speaking into the phone. The call is then disconnected.



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