One year on from the brutal killing of Southampton teenager Hannah Foster, police are no nearer bringing their prime suspect in for questioning - even though they know who he is . . .

On Friday, March 14, 2003, Hannah Foster spent the evening with friends at the Sobar and The Hobbit pubs in Bevois Valley.

At the end of the evening, the 17-year-old and her four friends opted against going on to Lennons nightclub and instead walked along Portswood Road.

Hannah waved a friend off on a bus near The Mitre pub at around 10.50pm, before setting off on a five-minute walk to her parents' house in Grosvenor Road. She never arrived.

Two days later, Hannah's body was found in a hedgerow in Allington Lane, West End. She had been raped and strangled.

One year on from a murder which shocked a city, no one has been brought to justice. In a series of articles this week, reporters Ali Kefford and Sian Davies retrace the events of 12 months ago, speak to those involved in the investigation and ask why Hannah's killer is still at large.

IT IS SAID she possessed a temperament as beautiful as she was to behold. Behind Hannah Foster's broad, beaming smile was intelligence, loyalty and kindness.

She was predicted to gain A grades in her A'-levels.

She planned to go to university and become a doctor.

The 17-year-old with the floppy fringe liked the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and cared about environmental issues.

She was, basically, a star ready to shine.

Yet, this Sunday - March 14 - will be the first anniversary of Hannah's abduction, rape and murder.

In the space of a few hours, her hopes and dreams were snuffed out by a sexual predator who remains at large.

Southampton folk reacted strongly when Hannah was killed, recoiling from the savageness of a crime against a gentle teenager on the cusp of womanhood.

This was not the murder of an anonymous down-and-out found crumpled in a dark alley. This was the death of a young girl in the first flushes of womanhood.

Attacks of this brutality are rare in a city where thousands of teenagers safely walk home every weekend evening.

Many parents were especially shocked, knowing it so easily could have been their child.

In the aftermath of her murder, Hannah's friends held candlelit vigils for her at Highfield Church where her funeral was eventually held in April.

Hampshire police launched Operation Springfield and officers worked tirelessly to follow up the leads their inquiries threw up.

Now Det Supt Alan Betts knows exactly who he wants to talk to.

But Maninder Pal Singh Kohli fled to India two days after Hannah's body was found, leaving behind Kohli's wife and two young children to face the music in his absence.

And, up until now, all efforts to track him down have failed.

From the police's point of view, this is a source of deep, unrelenting frustration.

Their investigation, complete but for their prime suspect - the final piece of the jigsaw - is left missing.

Hampshire police has no jurisdiction in India and must rely on the co-operation of local police in a vast country where it appears easy to sink from trace.

Det Supt Betts and members of his team have twice visited India to assist their counterparts.

With them was Punjabi speaking constable Kim Ghali.

And so the months have passed and the anniversary of Hannah's murder now approaches.

Last March the hedgerow where her lifeless body was dumped was pared back by officers as they searched for forensic clues.

As another spring begins, the foliage has begun to grow back.

The flowers that were placed there in memory of Hannah have gone and traffic regularly passes what now looks like a normal stretch of country road.

Only it isn't.

The ground floor flat where fugitive Maninder Pal Singh Kohli used to live has new owners now and net curtains hang in windows above an ill-kept garden.

At the Empress Road depot used by Hazelwood Foods, where the 36-year-old once worked as a delivery driver, the bustling industrial estate continues about its business.

Hannah's school year have now taken their A-levels and gone on to university and other forms of further education.

In many respects, the world has moved on.

But not at Hulse Road police station, where the ten officers still working on Operation Springfield remain resolute in their investigations.

"There's still the same urgency and the same commitment to getting this bloke. It's just so tangible," said a police spokesman.

For those closely involved in Hannah's murder - especially her family - normal life must be impossible.

Det Supt Betts visits them but, despite several trips to the Punjab, the matter is, largely, beyond his control.

This is a Southampton murder, but it's one where the hideous criminal activity was focused on a specific part of the city.

Eerily the tendrils of several aspects of the murder interlock and cross over.

Hannah Foster lived in Grosvenor Road in Highfield, Kohli in Broadlands Road, Swaythling, a few streets away. Hannah's home lies in a leafy suburban area, a middle class area complete with big houses. Kohli's former home lies in an area popular with students from the nearby University of Southampton with numerous rented accommodation.

Hannah's final drink was in The Hobbit, in Bevois Valley Road, while Kohli's place of work was in Empress Road, a matter of a few hundred yards from the pub.

The distance from the bus stop by The Mitre pub where she waved goodbye to her friend to the front door of her home is a mere five minutes' walk.

Yet, for her parents already deeply proud of her achievements both academic and as a person, the sound of the key in the front door lock was not to be heard.

The girl with the beaming broad smile will not be forgotten.

Least of all by father Trevor, mother Hilary and sister Sarah, 15.

Last April a fund was set up in Hannah's memory which has now raised well in excess of £3,000.

The money will eventually be donated to the British Association for Immediate Care (BASICS), a voluntary doctor service which provides emergency medical treatment at the scenes of road accidents.

Their lives are shattered but they are probably also in limbo, braced for the avalanche of activity that would occur should police trace the fugitive, who has now become one of Britain's most wanted men.

The Fosters are understood to have offered to visit India themselves, if police believe this will increase the chances of finding Kohli.

The reward for information leading to his capture currently stands at 5,000,000 rupees, about £70,000, more than a skilled Indian worker could hope to earn in two lifetimes.

Last month the British home secretary raised the stakes again.

On a visit to the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Police Academy David Blunkett publicly appealed for help catching Kohli.

"I appeal to the men and women of the Punjab to assist their police service in achieving his capture - not only in the interests of justice but because he is wanted for questioning for the most heinous of crimes," said the politician.

"The tragic murder of young Hannah Foster shows why it is so important we continue to forge even closer policing links.

"Only through continued and even closer co-operation and joint working can we catch those who believe they can flee UK justice by crossing an international border."

This is a moment you suspect can't come soon enough for Det Supt Betts and his team.

Many of those involved in the initial stages of the case put in regular 18-hour days, chasing up many hundreds of leads.

Some worked an extra 60 minutes unpaid overtime each day, called "Hannah's hour", because her murder had affected them so deeply.

It is said to have deeply upset her school friends too who, while they are no longer at Barton Peveril College, will no doubt treasure their memories of the girl who wanted to pass her days saving the lives of others as a doctor.

As her mother Hilary said: "Hannah was always a very happy person. One of those sort of children with a ready smile.

"You know that expression people say about flourishing into a young woman, that was what we were witnessing.

"She was just the sort of girl that you just always felt proud of."

Donations to the Hannah Foster Fund can be made at any branch of Lloyds TSB bank, quoting sort code 30 90 34 and account number 2080771.