LONDON: A 22-year-old Tunisian man who was arrested earlier has been charged with the murder of Indian-origin student Sabita Thanwani
and appeared in custody at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court in London on Tuesday.
Maher Maaroufe, who the police said had been in a relationship with the student, was hunted down by Scotland Yard
after the discovery of Thanwani's body in her student accommodation in Clerkenwell area of London on Saturday.
He was arrested on suspicion of the 19-year-old psychology student's murder and assault on Sunday. A post-mortem examination carried out at Whittington Hospital in London on Monday gave the cause of Thanwani's death as sharp force trauma to the neck, the Metropolitan Police said.
“Detectives investigating the death of Sabita Thanwani in Clerkenwell have charged a man with murder. Maher Maaroufe, 22, of no fixed address, has also been charged with assaulting an emergency worker,” the Met Police said in a statement.
“Detectives from the Met's Specialist Crime Command are investigating and continue to provide support to Sabita's family,” the statement added.
Thanwani, a British national, was found with serious injuries to her neck at Arbour House student flats in Clerkenwell area of London and pronounced dead at the scene on Saturday. On Monday, her family paid tribute to their “beautiful and irreplaceable angel” whose life was cut “tragically short”.
The family said: “Sabita was the most caring and loving person we have ever known. She inspired us every day of her precious 19 years of life. Her mission was to help everyone.
"She was studying psychology at City University
to make this happen. Her whole life was ahead of her, a life where her radiant smile and incredible heart could only spread warmth and kindness."
Over the weekend, the Met Police had issued an urgent manhunt for Maaroufe, who had reportedly been with Thanwani on Friday.
“Maaroufe had been in a relationship with Sabita but he was not a student. He is a Tunisian national of no fixed address,” Detective Chief Inspector Linda, who is leading the investigation, had said in her appeal.
A spokesperson for City, University of London said it was working closely with Unite Students, which runs the student accommodation where the body was found.
“As a university, we will do everything we can to support our students and staff and we will continue to fully support the police with their investigation,” a university spokesperson said.