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Rachel's real killer convicted

A man has been convicted of strangling a teenager whose boyfriend was wrongly jailed for the murder.

Shahidul Ahmed killed shop assistant Rachel Manning, 19, in December 2000, dumping her body in undergrowth at a golf course. Her boyfriend Barri White was convicted of the murder in 2002 but later acquitted at a retrial in 2008.

Ahmed, 41, was put on trial after DNA evidence linking him to Miss Manning's death was discovered following his arrest for an unrelated matter in 2010.

He hit Miss Manning repeatedly with a steering lock after she was dead, causing broken bones, Luton Crown Court heard. DNA found on the steering lock matched Bangladesh-born Ahmed after it was discovered by the road on the direct route between the spot where the body was hidden and Shahidul Ahmed's home.

Ahmed, of Chestnut Crescent, Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, sold his car eight days after Miss Manning was murdered on December 10.

Mr White, who was 20 at the time, served six years for the murder before his conviction was quashed on appeal in 2007 as a result of fresh scientific evidence.

Ahmed, who denied murder, first stood trial in January when a jury failed to return a verdict.But, following a retrial, a jury of seven men and five women returned a unanimous guilty verdict. Ahmed was given a life sentence with a minimum term of 17 years.

Mr White said: "I feel over the moon that justice has finally been done and really happy that Rachel's family have finally got justice and the closure they deserve."

Mr White's friend, Keith Hyatt, who was cleared of murder but convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by helping to dispose of the body in 2002, also had his conviction quashed in 2007 after serving a jail sentence.

Ahmed was suspected of Ms Manning's murder after he was arrested over a sexual assault in May 2010. Thames Valley Police said a woman got into his car after a night out in Milton Keynes thinking he was a taxi driver. She escaped after being indecently assaulted and was helped by a passer-by who got the car's registration. The arrest led to a DNA match connecting Ahmed to the steering lock. He was arrested on suspicion of Ms Manning's murder in September 2010 and charged with her murder in December 2011.


From Belfast Telegraph