Student killed by man who remains at large

Police say murder suspect fled back to Yemen and cannot be extradited

A VERDICT of unlawful killing has been recorded at an inquest into the death of a Norwegian student whose battered corpse was found in Great Portland Street in 2008.

The body of Regent’s College student Martine Vik Magnussen, 23, was discovered under a pile of rubble in the basement of a block of flats on March 16, 2008.

Farooq Abdulhak, the son of billionaire Yemeni businessman Shaher Abdulhak, is still wanted for the rape and murder of Miss Magnussen, but he is believed by police to have taken refuge in his homeland, which does not have an extradition treaty with Britain. So far he has refused to give himself up.

At Westminster Coroners Court coroner Dr Paul Knapman said: “There were a substantial number of injuries to the body, sexual intercourse had taken place at the time of her death.”

He added: “My conclusion is that she was unlawfully killed.”

The court heard that Ms Magnussen, of Gatliff Road, had been out with a group of friends including fellow Regent’s College student Farooq Abdulhak at Maddox nightclub on the night of March 13 and the pair were seen leaving the venue at 3.20am the following day.

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Pathologist Nathaniel Cary, who carried out the post mortem informed the court that the young woman had died from compression of the neck, although she had more than 40 cuts on her body including grazes and cuts on her head and face.

He said her blood alcohol level suggested she would have been mildly or moderately intoxicated at the time of her death and she had also taken some amount of cocaine.

The Met’s Det Insp Richard Ambrose explained that efforts to secure Mr Abdulhak’s capture have been fruitless.

He said: “She had been a friend of his for about eight months. It was known that from time to time she had stayed at his address.”

He added: “It would appear he had fled the country within 14 hours of her being missing. We traced that he had been to Egypt and subsequently to Yemen. We believe him to still be in Yemen. A European arrest warrant for murder and rape was given.

“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office are liaising with the Yemeni Government to get Farooq Abdulhak back. The upshot is that whether he returns or not is purely his choice and at the moment he chooses not to.”

The victim’s family attended court for the verdict and her father Odd Petter Magnussen praised the thoroughness of the British authorities’ investigations.

He said: “We have a suspect. For my family to continue our lives I hope that he will come forward for the legal authorities of this country. Not only for my family but for the international community as a whole.”

Previously the court had heard Ms Magnussen described as joyful and happy, someone who was considerate and enjoyed making friends. Her father said she was inclusive, trustworthy and generous but with a temper that made it challenging to cross her boundaries.

She had started out on a course at Warsaw Medical School but found it unsatisfactory and moved to England where she enrolled in an international business course at Regent’s College where she was happy, enjoyed her studies and was top of her class in 2008.