Man convicted of Rachel Manning Murder - Milton Keynes

04/09/2013

A man has today, Wednesday, 04 September 2013, been found guilty at Luton Crown Court of the murder of Rachel Manning and sentenced to life imprisonment and to serve a minimum of 17 years.

Shahidul Ahmed, aged 41, formerly of Chestnut Crescent, Bletchley, Milton Keynes was found guilty of murder by a unanimous verdict following a three-week trial.

Rachel, aged 19, went missing after a night out in Milton Keynes on 10 December 2000. Her body was discovered two days later at Woburn Golf Club. Her boyfriend at the time, Barri White and his friend Keith Hyatt were initially convicted of her murder, but their convictions were overturned.

Ahmed came to the attention of Thames Valley Police after he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault in May 2010. A woman got into his car after a night out in Milton Keynes believing he was a taxi driver. She managed to escape from the car after he indecently assaulted her and was helped by a passerby who got the registration number of the car.  The arrest then led to a DNA hit connecting Ahmed to the stoplock which was used to assault Rachel following her death.

Ahmed was subsequently arrested on suspicion of Rachel's murder in September 2010 and charged with her murder in December 2011.  Ahmed answered no comment throughout the police interviews via an interpreter. During this time Crown Prosecution Service worked very closely with the Thames Valley Police to build a strong case.

Baljit Ubhey OBE, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved the tragic murder of a young woman more than 12 years ago. 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. It is thanks to developments in DNA evidence techniques that we are able to secure this conviction today.

"This case represents a tragedy for the family of Rachel Manning. And there are others whose lives have also been affected too. Two innocent men were imprisoned as a result of this terrible crime and we hope that this conviction represents closure for them too.

"We know that nothing will bring Rachel Manning back to her family, but we hope that today's conviction and sentence brings them at least a small sense that justice has been done. Our thoughts are very much with them."

Detective Chief Superintendant Rob Mason, Senior Investigating Officer in the case said: "What is important about the verdict today is justice for Rachel and her family. 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 twelve years.

"This has been a long and difficult investigation which has resulted in four criminal trials. Both Barri White and Keith Hyatt gave evidence as prosecution witnesses during this trial and I would like to thank them for their assistance in helping secure this conviction.

"There have been many officers and staff who have worked on this case over the years and every single one of them has been committed to finding the truth and getting justice for Rachel. Thanks to their hard work and the importance of DNA evidence, Ahmed will now face a substantial prison sentence for what he did to Rachel."