Parents pleaded with Indian media for help finding killer

Amid the heat and humidity of the monsoon season, Hannah Foster's parents sat in a packed room at the Press Club in Delhi and pleaded with the Indian media to help track down their daughter's killer.

"We come to you in desperation, seeking help... Every parent in India will share our anguish at the cruel loss of a loved and loving daughter," said Trevor Foster, as he sat beside his wife Hilary, on that day more than four years ago. Sixteen months after their 17-year-old Hannah had been kidnapped, raped and murdered, this personal mission 4,000 miles across the world was, Hampshire detectives secretly feared, futile.

Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, 41, the key suspect who yesterday was finally convicted, had fled four days after the killing to his native Chandigarh in Punjab, and then continued to travel, adopting various aliases. Hampshire officers questioned whether he would really be found in the vast country. Neither the family nor the police could have anticipated how swiftly the story would captivate India. Days later, on the other side of India from Chandigarh, in the poor farming community of Kalimpong, West Bengal, five people spotted Kohli's picture in a newspaper and contacted police. Among them was a former British Army Gurkha, Roshan Gurung, who would be a key witness at the trial.

It was just one hurdle surmounted by Hannah's parents, a cardiac nurse and an auditor, in their journey to see the man who took away their "precious and fragile" daughter put behind bars. The Fosters refused to back down, despite Hilary's battle with breast cancer, Kohli's refusal to return to the UK, and frustrations of the Indian legal system.

After a plea to the British media (with reward of £65,000) failed, they decided to make the first of three trips to India on 10 July 2004. Kohli, it later emerged, initially lay low in Chandigarh, where his younger brother was a policeman, but fled when British police arrived weeks later. For seven months he lived in Bangalore, where he claimed to be a tourist called Mike Dennis. When people became suspicious, he escaped to Darjeeling. As detectives offered five million rupee (approximately £60,000) for information leading to his arrest, he found a new home and took a second wife. Kohli kept in contact with his brothers by email, shaved off the beard of his Sikh religion and planned to cross into his new wife's native Nepal, which has no extradition treaty with the United Kingdom. But his plan was cut short when he was recognised by Mr Gurung, the former Gurkha.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates one of his goals during the FIFA World Cup 2014 round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Fair trade: the idea of honesty boxes relies on people paying their way
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
News
news
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary