THE man accused of murdering Hannah Foster begged an acquaintance to buy him a flight to India the day after the teenager vanished or he would “kill himself’’, a court heard.

Balwinder Chahal, general secretary of Southampton’s Gurdwara Sikh temple, told how Maninder Pal Singh Kohli appeared “nervous’’ and was wanting to leave the country that night.

Winchester Crown Court heard how on Saturday, March 15, 2003, Kohli had rang Mr Chahal several times and was insistent on meeting him at the temple that afternoon.

Mr Chahal told jurors that he had not wanted to meet Kohli initially, fearing he would be asking for money again, having already borrowed £360 from Mr Chahal.

Later that day he did however relent, and went to Kohli’s home in Broadlands Road, Sway-thling, where the 40-year-old was with his wife and two children.

The court was told how the house was untidy, with several bin liners on the floor containing Kohli’s belongings. Kohli was acting “totally out of character’’ and his hands were shaking.

Questioned by prosecutor Nicholas Haggan QC, Mr Chahal said: “He was asking me to take him to the airport and buy him a ticket. He was saying he was very upset.’’ He added that Kohli told him his mother, who he wanted to go to visit in India, was dying.

Mr Chahal said: “He was behaving differently than how he used to before that day’’, adding that Kohli would often visit the temple and would be crying during prayer.

“He was more nervous. He wanted me to help him in any way I can.

“He was telling me if I didn’t help him he would kill himself.’’ Mr Chahal said he was concerned and initially considered helping but then changed his mind. After leaving Kohli’s house he rang a travel agent, but then went back to Kohli and lied, telling him there were no flights to India that night.

Continuing his evidence, Mr Chahal said that at the time Kohli had told him his parents-in-law had arranged to have him beaten up.

Asked about a red mark or scratch near to Kohli’s left eye that day, Mr Chahal said Kohli had told him it was caused when people turned up on his doorstep the night before, he opened the door and was hit.

Mr Chahal said he asked Kohli to tell police but he didn’t want to report it. Concerned, Mr Chahal then drove to Portswood police station to report what had happened to Kohli but they told him there was nothing they could do unless it was reported by the person himself.

The folllowing day Kohli made more calls to Mr Chahal, telling him his father-in-law had now paid for the flight but still wanting a lift to the airport and Mr Chahal refused.

Cross-examined by the defence, Mr Chahal said he didn’t remember Kohli having a “family plan’’ to sell up and move to India.

Kohli denies the abduction, false imprisonment, rape and murder of 17-year-old Hannah, whose body was found on Sunday, March 16, 2003, at the side of Allington Lane, West End.