UK & World News
Rachel Manning: Killer Jailed For Murder
A man has been jailed for life for the murder of Rachel Manning 11 years after her boyfriend was wrongly convicted over the killing.
Shahidul Ahmed, 41, will serve a minimum term of 17 years for the 19-year-old's murder.
The teenager's boyfriend, Barri White, was wrongly convicted of the killing and said he was "over the moon" after the sentencing.
He added that "justice has finally been done" and that he was "really happy that Rachel's family have finally got justice and the closure they deserve."
Mr White was convicted in 2002 of Rachel's murder, but five years later this was quashed by appeal judges and he was acquitted in 2008 after a re-trial.
This came after the case was featured on a BBC Rough Justice documentary which raised questions about key scientific evidence in the first trial.
Mr White's friend Keith Hyatt was also cleared of any wrongdoing after he was wrongly convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by helping to dispose of Rachel's body.
Ms Manning had been to a 70s themed fancy dress party with Mr White and her friends on December 9, 2000.
They went on to Chicago's nightclub and left at around 2.15am, where Ms Manning walked off alone to catch a taxi.
She phoned her home in Wolverton at 2.43am and spoke to her flat mate to say she was upset. She then phoned Mr White and said she did not know where she was and he agreed to pick her up.
When they arrived at 3.13am she was not there.
Ahmed was suspected of Ms Manning's murder after he was arrested over a sexual assault in May 2010.
Thames Valley Police said a woman got into his car after a night out in Milton Keynes thinking he was a taxi driver.
She escaped after being indecently assaulted and was helped by a passer-by who got the car's registration. The arrest led to a DNA match connecting Ahmed to a steering lock he used to repeatedly hit Ms Manning after she was dead.
Ahmed, of Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, sold his car eight days after the murder.
He was arrested on suspicion of her murder in September 2010 and charged in December 2011.
The father-of-five, who sat with an interpreter in the dock, bowed his head as the verdict was read out.
The court was told he took out his "anger and frustration on her much-loved face and disfigured it by great violence, having sought to dispose of her where she would not be found for a sufficient time to enable you to cover your tracks".
After the hearing, Ms Manning's mother, Liz, said in a statement: "We are relieved with the verdict which has been reached today and appreciate that although the jury has been presented with many complexities during the evidence, they've been able to reach what we consider a just conclusion."
Detective Chief Superintendent Rob Mason, of Thames Valley Police, said: "I cannot praise Rachel's family enough; they have remained dignified and courageous throughout despite the unimaginable nightmare they have endured.
"I hope that today will give some comfort to the family after the ordeal they have been through over the past 12 years."
He added that both Mr White and Mr Hyatt had received an apology.
Baljit Ubhey OBE, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: "Rachel Manning, who was trying to find her way home after a night out, had the misfortune to come across Ahmed.
"We may never know for sure what happened that night, or why Ahmed murdered Rachel, but what we do know is that Ahmed is an extremely dangerous man who was convicted last year of a sexual assault against another young woman.
"Had it not been for his arrest for that offence Ahmed may never have been brought to justice for Rachel's murder.
"This case represents a tragedy for the family of Rachel Manning. And there are others whose lives have also been affected. Two innocent men were imprisoned as a result of this terrible crime and we hope that this conviction represents closure for them too."