A man has sentenced for killing a 19-year-old student after fast-time police work led to him being found asleep in a garden shed.

Maher Maaroufe, 24 (17.08.99) previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility after he fatally stabbed his girlfriend Sabita Thanwani at her student accommodation in Clerkenwell.

At the Old Bailey on Monday 15 January., Maaroufe, of no fixed address, was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order.

Detective Inspector Jonny Newell said: “Sabita’s family have been devastated by her loss and our thoughts remain with them at this time.

“It is heartbreaking that a young woman has lost her life because of the violent actions of one man and we are pleased he has faced justice.

“Our New Met for London plan makes clear that the entire organisation is committed to improving the safety of women and girls and our officers are using all the tools at their disposal to do this.”

At around 05:10hrs on Saturday, 19 March 2022, police received a call from a woman who said she could hear someone screaming for help from the room next door.

Officers attended and on entering the room, found Sabita with serious injuries. Despite the efforts of emergency services, she was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

On arrival at the scene, a man had run out of the flat and managed to evade officers.

A fast-time CCTV trawl was carried out which showed the suspect running away from police, climbing over a fence into nearby Berry Place and then through numerous gardens.

Detectives managed to piece together a timeline which showed he did not emerge from a garden on Joseph Trotter Close. They made their way to the location where Maaroufe was found asleep in a shed, under a tarpaulin.

He was arrested and taken into custody where he was later charged.

A statement issued by Sabita’s family said: “There is no escaping the grief and pain of a loss so great, it is almost, unspeakable, but we must speak. We must speak on behalf of our beloved, Sabita. Our speech will take the form of action as we have set up a charity in Sabita’s name. The charity will be a reflection of what Sabita had hoped to achieve in her life, dedicated to helping others. The focus will be on gender equality education and the protection of vulnerable girls and women. This is our goal to ensure Sabita’s senseless murder does not extinguish the beautiful light of hope that she shone so brightly throughout her short life.

“It is a time to grieve and that time may never truly end, but we will endeavour to find the strength and courage to move forward and we will remain forever grateful and awestruck that such a particularly beautiful, gentle soul was ours to hold and to love, even if it was for a heartbreakingly brief time.”

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