Suspect in murder of teenager fled to India

Jason Bennetto Crime Correspondent
Saturday 29 March 2003 01:00

The prime suspect for the rape and murder of the Hampshire teenager Hannah Foster left the country shortly after she was abducted and killed, police disclosed yesterday.

Interpol, the international police agency, has been alerted in an attempt to trace the Asian suspect, who is believed to have gone to India. The man, who is in his thirties, left Britain on 18 March, four days after Hannah, 17, was abducted near her home in Portswood, Southampton.

Police said yesterday that the teenager had been raped before she was strangled. She was found two days later in undergrowth on the outskirts of Southampton.

Police are investigating the possibility that she was being stalked by an Asian man who had talked to her on two occasions close to her home and had called her by her name.

Police were searching the home of the suspect yesterday, which is close to where the teenager was abducted, and a van believed to belong to him.

Detective Inspector Tony Adams, of Hampshire Police, said: "We do not intend to name this individual at present but we believe he left the country on 18 March and travelled to India four days after Hannah's abduction and two days after her body was discovered. We are liaising with police overseas, Interpol, immigration services, international airports and the Crown Prosecution Service in order to locate this man and return him to the UK."

Hannah, a sixth-form student, was last seen as she waved goodbye to a friend who was getting on to a bus half a mile from her home.