Twist in Rachel Manning murder trial number four

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The fourth trial into the murder of strangled teenager Rachel Manning has added yet more confusion this week.

As restaurant worker Shahidul Ahmed stands on trial for the second time, defence lawyers have shifted the focus to the original defendant – Rachel’s boyfriend Barri White.

They called Mr White’s former wife Alison to the stand to describe how he once lost his temper and grabbed her by the throat.

At the time police were called and Mr White accepted a caution, the court heard.

Mr White was convicted in 2002 of murdering 19-year-old Rachel and dumping her body at Woburn golf course.

He was freed six years later on appeal and his conviction was quashed after a full retrial. Afterwards he married Alison, who told Luton Crown Court this week they were divorced and on good terms while bringing up their young daughter.

Two years after Mr White’s acquittal, police arrested 41-year-old Shahidul Ahmed on an unrelated matter.

His DNA proved a match for samples taken from the car steering lock used to batter Rachel around the head after she was killed.

Ahmed, of Bletchley, first stood trial in February this year but the case collapsed after the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

Last week the retrial started with an almost identical case from the prosecution.

Police say Ahmed, who pleads not guilty, attacked Rachel in Oldbrook as she walked alone during the night of December 2000.

Ahmed will not be called to the stand by his defence team, who are still inferring Mr White is to blame.

Once again they have produced evidence from an unnamed prisoner, who claims he heard Mr White confess to the murder while in jail.

The trial continues.