London, Nov 26: Parents of Hanna Foster, a 17-year-old girl who was raped and murdered by a driver of India origin in 2003, have said that the convict, Maninder Pal Singh Kohli (41), should have been sentenced to life imprisonment.
The Winchester Crown Court had yesterday awarded a 24-year jail sentence to Kohli after finding him guilty of rape and murder. Speaking to media persons after the sentence was pronounced, Hannah's father Trevor Foster said that the jail sentence was less if matched with the gravity of crime (of callously depriving his daughter the right to life) committed by him.
"We have done everything we can in pursuit of justice for Hannah. However, we cannot accept and never will be able to accept, how a complete stranger can abduct, rape and murder your teenage daughter, still a child in the eyes of the law, and yet not end his days in prison. Kohli will, in all probability, walk out of jail after serving his recommended minimum sentence and resume his life in the outside world. This man callously deprived Hannah of her primary human right - the right to life.
This sentence gives him the right to a second chance at life, a second chance he never gave Hannah. To see Kohli's life valued in this way when he showed such utter disregard for Hannah's is hurtful beyond measure. The punishment should fit the crime. In this case, it most certainly did not," The Telegraph quoted him as saying.
The girl's mother Hilary said that Kohli adopted every means to evade trial. She said: "I feel as though Kohli has ripped out my heart and stamped on it. For five long years this cowardly murderer has dominated our thoughts and our lives. He has done everything possible to delay our grieving process.
He fled from the UK jurisdiction, went into hiding in India and used every ploy to delay the extradition process refusing to acknowledge guilt or responsibility for his crimes."
Hannah was killed on March 14, 2003 and her body dumped in brambles on the outskirts of Southampton. The 17-year-old girl had secretly called 999 but ended up getting disconnected when she couldn't talk directly to the operator.
Kohli fled to India four days later and spent 17 months on the run before being arrested on the Indian-Nepalese border in July 2004. Soon after his arrest, he confessed to his crimes, but withdrew his statement later, much to the agony of Hannah's parents Trevor and Hilary.