Chandigarh, July 14: Sixteen months after 17-year-old Hannah Foster was raped and murdered in Britain allegedly by Punjab-born Maninderpal Singh Kohli, her parents Hilary and Trevor were in the state today to plead with people for information on the suspect’s whereabouts.
Hannah was abducted barely 500 yards from her home in Southampton on March 14 last year. Her bruised body was found two days later in a bush.
“Please examine your conscience and help the police to trace Maninderpal,” Trevor said. “I can assure you that if you want confidentiality, it will be protected. The Rs 50 lakh award, too, would be honoured.”
“My daughter didn’t deserve to die so young and in such a callous and terrifying manner. We want justice,” wept Hilary, her hands trembling.
The Fosters will be here for the next three days. Chief minister Amarinder Singh today agreed to spare “some minutes” for them on Friday. The parents will also meet police officers connected with the investigation.
Maninderpal, a migrant lorry driver, visited his ailing parents in Punjab soon after Hannah’s murder but disappeared on March 29 after he was tipped off that British police were on the lookout for him. By the time Punjab police were asked to help trace him, the suspect had left his parents’ Mohali home.
“Anyone who has any information on Maninderpal, where he is sheltering or is being sheltered, can either call on 1-600-12-1223 on the BSNL line or 0124-5047848 for the others. Those wishing to write to us can email at firstname.lastname@example.org,” Trevor pleaded.
To a question that Maninderpal could be innocent, Trevor said: “Maninderpal is the chief suspect. There is no other suspect at the moment. He has left his wife and two young sons to fend for themselves. We have been told he has not contacted his ageing father or mother, who is in coma, since disappearing. Are these actions of a loving father, a caring son and an innocent man'”
Trevor said he sympathised with Maninderpal’s parents. “I respect his father Jagjit for his views on television that if his son is guilty, he should be punished. I can understand his pain, his feelings,” he said.
The Fosters will meet former Assembly Speaker Bir Devinder, who has offered to use his influence among sect leaders to trace Maninderpal.
The police have narrowed their search to a sect headquarters in the region. A team has also been sent to Nepal.
Asked what she would do if she came face to face with Maninderpal, Hilary first looked blankly and then sobbed: “Perhaps, I would not speak to him.”