He never meant to come back

WHEN he fled the UK on the Air India flight AI112 to New Delhi he claimed he was desperate to see his critically ill mother.

But Maninder Pal Singh Kohli had no intention of ever coming back.

The father-of-two set off from Southampton, the city he made his home after emigrating from India nine years earlier, by taking a National Express coach to Heathrow Airport.

Carrying only hand luggage, Kohli boarded the 12-hour flight to his home country at 8.45am on Tuesday, March 18 2003 – four days after murdering Hannah Foster.

He left behind his wife Shalinder Kaur, two sons, his job, and the proceeds of the sale of his two-bedroom flat which was due to bring him £36,524.

When the flight financed by his father-in-law landed, the 35-year-old headed straight for the Punjabi city of Chandigarh, where he grew up.

But Kohli only stayed for a week, telling his family he was returning to the UK to sort out problems with his children’s passports.

In fact, having discovered he was a wanted man, Kohli went on the run and boarded a train to New Delhi.

Kohli claimed the money to pay for it was coming from his former colleague James Dennis, who he worked with in Empress Road.

It was Mr Dennis who later formed part of Kohli’s defence case – with Kohli claiming it was he who had allegedly framed him for Hannah’s murder.

Mr Dennis had lent Kohli £16,000 over a period of 15 months – money Kohli later said he was obtaining through blackmail because he had embarked on an affair with Mr Dennis’s wife Carole and Mr Dennis was threatening to reveal it. Mr and Mrs Dennis both denied Kohli’s allegations of an affair and blackmail.

Early in 2004 Kohli moved to Kalimpong, in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Calling himself false names including Mike Davis and Mike Dennis, he charmed a local woman called Bharati Das who he later married.

In April 2004, Hampshire detectives offered a reward of £70,000 for information leading to his arrest.

In July 2004 Hannah’s parents travelled to Delhi to make an appeal to help catch their daughter’s killer.

The picture of Kohli circulated by the media was recognised by locals and on July 15, 2004 as Kohli and his new wife waited at a bus stop to leave for Nepal, he was finally arrested.

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