A couple who travelled to India in an effort to track down their daughter’s killer yesterday said the response to their appeals was “beyond their wildest dreams”.
Hilary and Trevor Foster flew to India on Saturday in an attempt to trace Maninder Pal Singh Kohli – the prime suspect in the rape and murder of their 17-year-old daughter Hannah, whose body was found close to their home in Southampton on 16 March last year. He is believed to have fled to the Punjab region two days after her body was found.
The Fosters spoke to the Indian media in Delhi yesterday and are heading to Chandigarh for a second press conference today.
Mrs Foster, 47, told BBC Radio Five Live: “We are clinging on to the fact this man Maninder Pal Singh Kohli is a Sikh. My understanding is that 80 per cent of Sikhs are confined to the Punjab area and he’s very much a family man. All his family are from this area outside Chandigarh.”
She added: “It was a really difficult decision to come to India. We wondered whether we were mentally fit enough but I’m so glad we are here.
“We have had an amazing response. This press conference today was just wall to wall with people.
“It was beyond our wildest dreams. Everybody wants to help out here. They all seemed very interested in helping to find Hannah’s killer.”
She said the frustration caused by the prime suspect’s disappearance and the failure to catch Hannah’s killer had motivated their visit to India.
“We just need to meet the Punjab police and the people investigating it and then we can make up our minds about what’s happening out here.”
The couple appealed for anyone knowing of Kohli’s whereabouts to come forward. They also launched a telephone hotline, independent of the police, as another method for people to provide information about Kohli.
Hannah, who wanted to become a doctor, was abducted 500 yards from her home after a night out with friends.
A post-mortem examination found that she had been raped and strangled.