Hair on Rachel’s hotpants linked to alleged killer

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A hair found on a murdered teenager’s hot pants was linked to her alleged killer after he had been arrested for a sexual assault, a jury at Luton Crown Court heard yesterday.

Senior scenes of crime officer Nicola Lewis said that 10 years after Rachel Manning’s death, a DNA hit matching Shahidul Ahmed was also found on a stop-lock that had been used to disfigure the 19-year-old after she had been strangled.

The court was told that at the time of Rachel’s murder in 2000 there was no match for the profile on the police database.

But, prosecutor Ben Gumpert said, in May 2010 Mr Ahmed was arrested for a sexual assault on a woman in a car.

When his DNA was obtained it proved to be a match for the profile found on the steering lock. It was not in dispute that it was Mr Ahmed’s DNA, he said.

In addition the hair from the hot pants Rachel was wearing was subjected to advance DNA testing and was again linked to the defendant.

Mr Ahmed, 41, of Chestnut Crescent, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, denies murder between December 9 and 13 2000.

The jury has heard that Rachel became lost on a night out in Milton Keynes on December 9, 2000 after going to a 1970s-themed fancy dress party.

She was strangled and after her death her face was disfigured after being hit 17 times with the steering lock.

Her body was dumped in undergrowth, eight miles away, at Woburn Golf Club. She was still wearing fancy dress including a white embroidered cheesecloth blouse, a dark miniskirt, a pair of hot pants underneath and white knee-length boots.

The blue wig she was wearing that night was missing. The steering lock was found 500 metres from her body.

Her boyfriend Barri White was initially jailed for life for murder, but his conviction was overturned in the Court of Appeal and he was acquitted at a retrial in 2008.

The jury heard Mr White became involved in an argument with a man as they left Chicago’s club in the early hours and he told his girlfriend to get a taxi home.

She later called him from a phone box to say she was lost. He told her to wait at a Blockbuster store, but she was not there when he and a friend, Keith Hyatt, turned up.

Mr White reported her missing on December 11 and her body was found the next day.

Mr Gumpert told the jury of seven men and five women: “The prosecution’s case is that she was murdered by Shahidul Ahmed; that he attacked her close to a telephone box in Milton Keynes from which she had just made a call, before driving her body to the golf course and disposing of it.”

The impulse to attack her was “probably sexual” and eight days after the murder he said Ahmed disposed of his Rover 216 car, he said.

At the time the defendant was living in Weston Road, Bletchley, and was working in Buckingham at the Buckingham Tandoori restaurant.

At the start of the trial the judge Mr Justice Wilkie told the jury: “This is a retrial in the case of Shahidul Ahmed. There was a trial at the beginning of this year, which was inconclusive.”

Under cross-examination yesterday by Michael Borrelli QC, defending, scientist Clair Galbraith agreed that hairs and body cells can by picked up by people in their every day lives.

> Case continues.