Monday, April 7, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

UK sleuths coming to India to find suspect

London, April 6
Scotland Yard plans to send a team of six detectives to India this week to trace a suspect in a murder case who reportedly fled from the UK to Punjab.

Maninder Singh, who is suspected to have murdered 17-year-old student Hannah Foster, allegedly fled from London a day after her body was discovered in Southampton, according to Scotland Yard. Hannah was not seen after the night of March 14.

Detectives identified Maninder as a “strong” suspect following a tip-off as a result of a nationwide television appeal on BBC’s Crimewatch UK programme.

The 35-year-old Maninder Singh is thought to have caught a flight from Heathrow to Punjab, where his mother lives.

A day after the murder, he failed to turn up for work at Hazlewood Food Services in Southampton, detectives said. He went missing four days later, leaving behind his wife and two children.

Investigators have refused to answer questions whether they have established any DNA evidence to aid the probe.

The teenager had reportedly told friends that she had been approached on at least two occasions by an Asian man who called her by name, prompting fears that she was being stalked.

The police has confirmed that Hannah was raped but said there were no physical signs of a sexual assault. Murder squad detectives are currently liaising with the Crown Prosecution Service, Interpol and other agencies to locate Maninder Singh. If necessary, they will try to extradite him to the UK. Maninder reportedly had rows with his wife and owed money for gambling debts, investigators said. They also interrogated his wife on his movements. The couple recently sold their flat — lust 200 yards from where Hannah was last seen alive — and were planning to start life afresh in India. PTI

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