How Hannah's parents brought killer to justice

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The parents of Hannah Foster were instrumental in the five-and-a-half-year "rollercoaster" battle to bring their daughter's killer to justice.

It was the actions of Hilary and Trevor Foster in travelling to India to appeal for the public's help which led to the capture of prime suspect Maninder Pal Singh Kohli.

But the struggle for the cardiac nurse and auditor did not end there - not only did the pair have the frustration of the bureaucratic Indian legal system and Kohli's refusal to return to the UK to fight against, they also had a personal war to face when Mrs Foster was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Initially, the Fosters made pleas to the UK media, backed by a reward of £65,000, for help in finding Kohli, who had fled to India.

But after 16 months with little success, out of a sense of helplessness and desperation, the couple took it upon themselves to travel 4,000 miles to India to plead directly to the nation's people to help find Kohli.

Hampshire Police were supportive of the move but secretly detectives feared there was only a small chance of success.

But never in their wildest imaginations did either the police or Mr and Mrs Foster believe their initiative could have borne fruit so quickly.

Accompanied by Hampshire detectives and several UK journalists, the couple flew to Delhi on July 10, 2004.

The police had been informed that Kohli had returned to his home city of Chandigarh in the state of Punjab, but no sightings had been reported for several months.

A press notice was sent out by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the local media inviting them to a conference at the Press Club in Delhi at noon on July 13.

Mr Foster, then 53, told the Indian media: "We know we are Westerners and not from your country or your culture.

"But we come to you in desperation, seeking help to obtain justice for Hannah.

"My wife and I have travelled over 4,000 miles to ask the people of India for help."

Breaking down, he said: "Every parent in India will share our anguish at the cruel loss of a loved and loving daughter.

"I have just one daughter left now - Sarah, who just turned 16 and misses her sister very much."

Mrs Foster, then 47, said afterwards: "We have had an amazing response. This press conference today was just wall to wall with people - in fact we had difficulty trying to leave the building.

"It was beyond our wildest dreams. Everybody wants to help out here. They all seemed very interested in helping to find Hannah's killer."

But little did she realise how interested people were in her family's story.

A second appeal was made the following day in Chandigarh and on Thursday, July 15, five people living in a small town the other side of India - Kalimpong in West Bengal - called a hotline saying they recognised Kohli's picture and he was promptly arrested and brought to Delhi.

Mr Foster said: "I never expected anything like this to happen so quickly, we are absolutely delighted. This is the best result we could ever have hoped for."

But just as the family felt the first battle had been won, devastation struck as Mrs Foster was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after Kohli's arrest.

She underwent an intensive course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy as well as a breast operation and eventually she went into remission and back to health.

At the time, she said determinedly: "There is no way my cancer will get in the way of justice."

The extradition process to bring Kohli back to the UK went on for three years and saw the Fosters return twice more to appeal to the courts to speed up the proceedings.

On February 16, 2006, they tried to deliver a letter directly to Kohli in jail in Delhi appealing to him accept the extradition and fight his innocence in the UK.

But they were turned away and told to post the letter by ordinary mail.

Mrs Foster said at the time: "It's no way an angry letter. It's no hate, no anger.

"It's just my feelings. If he is innocent, he needs to clear his name and the only way he can do that is to stop fighting the extradition."

On March 2, 2007, they returned to India to attend a court extradition hearing.

Mr Foster said afterwards about seeing Kohli: "That's an experience that, although we have done it before, you just can't set yourself to deal with. It is very emotional.

"But we had to do it. We had to be in court and let people see, the judge especially, what this means to us. And to let the accused know that we are not going to walk away."

Then on July 28, 2007, the Delhi court finally made the decision that the Fosters had been waiting more than three years to hear - Kohli would be extradited to stand trial in the UK.

Mrs Foster told the Daily Mail the news was a "huge relief".

She said: "We are delighted. We just never thought this day was going to happen at times.

"It has been three really long, absolutely rollercoaster years. There has been delay and delay and you get very despondent.

"There is absolutely nothing we can do now for another few months and that's a really liberating feeling.

"For the fist time, we haven't got to go to bed thinking about who we should write to tomorrow and who we should get to help us campaign. We know now we just have to wait."

She added that she found the help of the Indian people inspirational.

She said: "I find it extraordinary that a country of that sort of proportions was interested enough to help find him in the first place and is now so excited for us.

"They are very caring people and, as a nation, families are very important to them so I think our case just touched their hearts, knowing it could have been one of their children."

She added that the struggle, and the huge impact it had had on her family, had been worth it to see justice done for her daughter.

She said: "We were determined that this should happen. We have always made it clear that he has a right to due legal process but there were so many unnecessary delays.

"We really had to steel ourselves for it but it's all we could do for Hannah. It's been traumatic but it's something that we have been determined to do."