‘Rachel would still be alive if she had not been abandoned’

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Rachel Manning’s mother believes her daughter would still be alive if Barri White had not abandoned her.

Following sentencing of Shahidul Ahmed for Rachel’s murder, Liz Manning said: “We believe Rachel would still be with us today if she had not been abandoned by her boyfriend the night she was attacked, killed and brutally battered. We cannot forget that.”

Mrs Manning, a teacher, did not criticise the police and CPS for bringing the first case against Barrie White. She said: “At all times we believe the police followed the evidence available. We’ve had to go through four trials and an appeal and each time it has forced us to relive the grief.

“We are relieved at the verdict that has been reached today. We consider it a just conclusion.”

“We are grateful to the Good Samaritan who came to the aid of Shahidul Ahmed’s latest victim. Without his actions the DNA evidence crucial in this conviction would never have come to light.

“We would like to thank the police for their tireless efforts to bring Rachel’s killer to justice.

“We would like to remind everyone the case is about Rachel who was killed at the young ago of 19 with her young life before her. This has been denied not only denied to her, us her family and her friends.”

Barri White was not at court. Keith Hyatt said: “I am pleased at the result. My father Arthur died at the weekend. He was the one who contacted Rough Justice who got our convictions overturned.”

In his sentence remarks Mr Justice Wilkie said: “Rachel Manning, to use the words of her friend Chris Gardiner, was a charming witty, gregarious, happy, positive person. She had a great deal of spirit, common sense and a sense of responsibility.

“She could be brave as well as a peacemaker. Her mother had seen in her a maturity developing even at her young age. She had much to look forward to and was relishing the challenges that life would bring.

“Tragically at the age of 19 you Shahidul Ahmed snuffed all that out, driven, it would seem, by the same demons which led you, in 2010, to commit a sexual assault which luckily for that victim did not lead to a fatality.

“In similar vein in 2000 you must have accosted Rachel Manning when she was at her most vulnerable, a young girl wandering alone around the centre of Milton Keynes in the early hours of the morning.

“When she rebuffed your advances, perhaps screaming her outrage so as to waken and disturb some nearby residents, you resorted to a cowardly attack from behind and killed her. That may not have been your intention but it was the result of your advances upon her and your response to her rejection of them.

“Not only that but it would seem enraged by what you, in a warped way, may have felt she had made you do, you took out your 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.

“Those factors of her vulnerability, your unlawful advances upon her, your subsequent concealment of and desecration of her body are aggravating features of your offence.

“For almost 10 years you lived, undetected with the knowledge of what you had done. You must have been aware that two other people, Barri White and Keith Hyatt, had suffered the agony of being accused convicted and imprisoned for offences of which they were wholly innocent and although this was eventually put right, nothing can bring back either Rachel’s lost life or their lost years.

“Fortunately, out of the misfortune of the woman attacked by you in 2010, the police were at last able to identify you as the person who had attacked her then killed her, carried her body to where it was dumped under some bushes and wielded the weapon used to damage her face.”

He told Rachel’s parents: “No one can imagine the grief you must have suffered. I can only admire the stoicism you have shown in this court and convey to you my profound sympathy over the loss of your daughter Rachel and everything that has happened since then until today.”