Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Hannah mother's impact statement to court

A victim impact statement written by Hannah's mother Hilary was read to Winchester Crown Court by Hannah's aunt, Jill Lewis.

She said: "I am Hilary Foster, Hannah's mother. We were a normal, happy family; my husband Trevor and our two daughters Hannah, aged 17, and Sarah, 14 (in March 2003). Our lives revolved around our two girls, their wellbeing, personal interests and hopes for the future.

"On March 14 2003, our lives changed forever.

"When Trevor and I saw Hannah in the mortuary, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. There must be some mistake.

"The cold, bruised and battered body certainly looked like Hannah but where was the sparkle in her eyes, the radiant smile, the warmth and tenderness of her touch?

"Hannah was vibrant, graceful, gentle and so alive. No, this can't have happened.

"But there was no mistake; this lifeless form was Hannah, our first born daughter: dead aged 17. Her life tragically cut short by the wilful actions of a cruel stranger who took it upon himself to abduct, rape and then murder my beloved Hannah, an innocent girl who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"I felt numb, paralysed by grief and pain. Why Hannah? She had so much to live for; so much unfulfilled promise, so many talents, so much humanity and compassion to share.

"When a mother gives birth she has an immediate, instinctive need to nurture and protect her child. I would give anything to change places with Hannah, to take away the terror and pain she suffered that night.

"For the rest of my life I will feel the guilt that I wasn't there when she needed me most. She died terrified and alone with an evil stranger. I feel as though Kohli has ripped out my heart and stamped on it.

"Hannah was a gentle, peace-loving girl who was never able to cope with raised voices and certainly not any threat of violence. She would have been frozen with fear, unable to run or fight - the proverbial 'lamb to the slaughter'.

"Hannah was murdered five and a half years ago; the pain never leaves me. I'm haunted by recurring nightmares of the horror that Hannah suffered. Medication for post traumatic stress disorder allows me to sleep for a short time before the relentless images overwhelm me again.

"Hannah's sister Sarah, now an only child, was 14 at the time. She has shown immense courage and maturity, has given us a reason to function in our daily lives. She misses her older sister terribly and it's desperately unfair that she has had to go through her teenage years without Hannah as her friend and mentor. On the night Hannah died, Sarah remembers Hannah saying 'I can't wait for you to grow up so we can go out together, you'll be such fun'.

"Eighteen months after Hannah's murder I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Whilst having my treatment, part of me wanted to die as coping with life was so hard but strength was unwittingly given to me by Sarah - I had to get better for her sake - how could she cope with losing both her sister and her mother? I loved her too much to leave her. Family life has changed beyond repair; Hannah should be here; parents should never outlive their children; we are filled with guilt and despair.

"Imagine how Hannah's elderly grandparents feel - they have buried their first-born granddaughter of whom they were so proud. We know they feel guilty that they have lived long and happy lives and her tragic death has affected so many people.

"Trevor and I have both been unable to return to work. After Hannah's murder we were both inevitably consumed with the need to bring her killer to justice. For the past five and a half years we have been immersed in a long, frustrating and exhausting mission firstly to find Kohli, who fled to India immediately after the murder, and then to ensure he was safely extradited back to the UK. We made three trips to India in this time, which left us emotionally and physically drained.

"I worried if this man remained at large that someone else's daughter would suffer the same fate as Hannah. Dealing with police, the media, diplomats and politicians for five years has been stressful, painful and often frustrating beyond belief.

"For five long years this cowardly murderer has dominated our thoughts and our lives. He has done everything possible to delay our grieving process. He fled from the UK jurisdiction, went into hiding in India and used every ploy to delay the extradition process refusing to acknowledge guilt or responsibility for his crimes.

"He long protested his treatment at the hands of police and prison officers in India, demanding that his human rights should be respected, all the while knowing that he had so callously dismissed Hannah's right to life.

"This evil man walked uninvited into our lives and destroyed Hannah in pursuit of his own depraved sexual gratification. He has wrecked our family. So many other innocent people, including his own family, have had their lives shattered by his relentless lies and deceit. His contempt for a human life is just beyond comprehension.

"Just how do you come to terms with a total stranger committing such acts of despicable cruelty; violating and terrorising your defenceless child? Hannah was an easy child to love, eager to please, extraordinarily kind and always polite and respectful. She was fun, popular, compassionate and a loyal friend. We cherish every moment we spent with her; we have so many happy memories.

"I can see her now running along the beach with Sarah, stopping to practise her ballet exercises, so slight and graceful, hardly leaving a footprint in the sand.

"I miss her quiet ways, snuggled up with a book in the garden or cuddling up with her father on the settee to sneak some warmth. She was always ready to share her innermost thoughts with me, even as a teenager. Her friends, schoolwork, problems and achievements, were all freely discussed as equals. I miss those intimate chats. I miss her so much.

"Hannah has been robbed of the medical career that she wanted so much and to which she was so well suited. She would have qualified as a doctor this year, a valuable member of society. Hannah will never be the blushing bride; never have children of her own. The sense of loss is unbearable. We are heartbroken and will always remain so.

"Hannah, your short life enriched the lives of so many people. You'll never be forgotten. Loved forever. My darling little girl, may you now rest in peace."