Rachel murder case DNA link

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TEENAGER Rachel Manning was strangled to death near a public phone box just after phoning her boyfriend to say she was lost, a court heard this week.

Police say Bangladeshi restaurant worker Shahidul Ahmed strangled the 19-year-old shop assistant with a soft ligature and then dumped her body eight miles away at Woburn Golf Club.

They admit the reason for the murder is “unclear”, though a sexual motive has not been ruled out.

The trial started this week at Luton Crown Court – 12 years and one month after Rachel was killed. And 41-year-old Mr Ahmed is the second defendant to stand in the dock charged with her murder

In 2002 Rachel’s boyfriend Barri White was convicted of killing her and sent to prison for life. His friend Keith Hyatt was imprisoned for helping dispose of the body.

But both convictions were sensationally overturned six years later following an appeal and retrial.

Mr Ahmed, who lives in Bletchley, was suddenly linked to the crime in 2010 after he was arrested for an unconnected matter.

Routine DNA samples taken during his arrest proved to be a match for the profile found on the car steering lock used to batter Rachel’s body, the court heard.

It is also alleged that a hair that could be linked to Mr Ahmed had been recovered from shorts Rachel was wearing at the time, said Ben Gumpert, prosecuting.

He said: “The prosecution’s case is that she (Rachel) was murdered by Shahidul Ahmed and that he attacked her close to a telephone box in Milton Keynes from which she had just made a call.

“Whether he (Mr Ahmed) always intended to kill her, or only did so because she was not willing to comply with his demands is unknown.

Rachel, who lived with friends in Wolverton, had been to a fancy dress party with her boyfriend and was wearing 1970s themed hotpants and a blue wig – which has never subsequently been found.

She and Barri White had then gone on to the former Chicago’s nightclub in Central Milton Keynes. But just after 2am Rachel began walking home alone after Mr White became involved in an argument with another young man.

She later called Mr White from a telephone box on Oldbrook to say she was lost and was instructed to wait for him in a nearby car park while he came to collect her. She was never seen alive again.

> The trial continues.