A fugitive in Yemen, the billionaire's son wanted for murder
Details of Norwegian socialite's death emerge
Thursday 25 November 2010
The grieving father of a student who was raped and murdered pleaded with her suspected killer to give himself up yesterday, berating the absurd situation that allowed the man to live in luxury beyond the reach of the law.
Farouk Abdulhak, a billionaire's son, fled the UK the day Martine Vik Magnussen disappeared. By the time her semi-naked body was found under a pile of rubble in his block of flats in London, Abdulhak, 21, was believed to be under the protection of his powerful Yemeni family. Despite a European arrest warrant having been issued, Yemen refuses to extradite him.
Yesterday Odd Petter Magnussen listened as Westminster Coroner's Court heard how his 23-year-old daughter had struggled to fight off her attacker but was eventually strangled or smothered to death.
The young Norwegian had been celebrating the end of her exams at Maddox, a Mayfair nightclub, when she left with Mr Abdulhak, a fellow student at Regent's Business School, in the early hours of 14 March 2008. When she failed to return home, friends alerted the police who found items of her clothing in Mr Abdulhak's West End flat and broke into a padlocked basement two days later.
Dr Nathaniel Carey, a forensic pathologist, said there were at least 43 cuts and grazes to several areas of the young woman's body, including 10 to her head, face and neck, which indicated she had tried to fight off her attacker but had been killed by compression to the neck. Dr Carey added she was probably mildly drunk and there was evidence of semen and recent "light usage" of cocaine.
"Many of [the wounds] were typical of assault-type injuries or those received in a struggle," said the pathologist. Within hours of Ms Magnussen's disappearance Mr Abdulhak had flown to Egypt, where it is believed he took his father's private jet to Yemen. The son of one of the most powerful businessmen in the country, Shaher Abdulhak, he is understood to be living amidst tight security at a family holiday home in the village of Thaba Abous in southern Yemen.
Detective Inspector Richard Ambrose told the inquest a European arrest warrant remained outstanding as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office worked on the case: "Papers went to the Crown Prosecution Service and it was their opinion that there is sufficient evidence to charge this man with murder and rape. But the upshot is, whether Abdulhak returns or not is purely his choice, and he chooses not to."
As the coroner recorded a verdict of unlawful killing, Mr Magnussen appealed to Abdulhak to give himself up. The father, who has described his extrovert daughter as "pure sunshine", added: "This really shows the absurd situation that surrounds this case. We have a suspect that has fled to a country where he is untouchable. There is no way, unless he puts himself forward for the British legal authorities, that he will have to take some responsibility for these actions."
Ms Magnussen's family is considering whether to bring a civil compensation case against the Abdulhak family for damages.
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