Tunisian man locked up indefinitely for killing Indian-origin teen in London
London: A Tunisian national has been locked up indefinitely in a psychiatric hospital for killing and nearly beheading a 19-year-old Indian-origin student at her university accommodation in London in 2022.
Maher Maaroufe, 24, stabbed his girlfriend Sabita Thanwani, an aspiring psychologist, in the neck at Arbour House student flats in Clerkenwell area of London on March 19, 2022.
Appearing before the Old Bailey last year, Maaroufe, of no fixed address, admitted manslaughter by means of diminished responsibility, saying he was suffering from schizoaffective disorder at that time.
He also pleaded guilty to a charge of assault by beating an emergency worker.
While sentencing him on Monday, Judge Nigel Lickley KC said Maaroufe carried out the attack during the “height” of a psychotic episode, the BBC reported.
He said Maaroufe had been “aggressive” and “controlling” towards Thanwani during their relationship and hit her at least once, and that his behaviour may have been part of his “emerging illness”.
“Sabita had her whole life ahead of her. You ended her life. Your actions will continue to cause enduring pain and suffering,” the judge told Maaroufe.
The Old Bailey heard that Maaroufe, who entered the UK legally on an unknown date but had overstayed, was in the process of claiming asylum at the time of the incident.
According to the prosecution, during his psychotic episodes, Maaroufe smoked cannabis and thought that Thanwani was a “male devil”.
The evening before the attack, they met outside a mosque and spent time in central London.
After they had returned to Thanwani’s accommodation, other students heard her shouting “stop”, “I can’t breathe” and “I beg you, don’t kill me”, following which emergency services were alerted.
Police saw blood stains around the bed, as well as blankets and duvets on the floor of Thanwani’s room.
She was pronounced dead at the scene at 6 am, and a post-mortem examination gave her cause of death as sharp force trauma to the neck.
Maaroufe was found by police asleep under a tarpaulin in a garden shed, and allegedly head-butted a police officer while trying to evade arrest.
Thanwani’s family, in a statement released at the time of her death, described her as “our angel” and said she had a “radiant smile and incredible heart”.
The family described Maaroufe as an “evil, sadistic murderer, his actions were calculated to kill her because she rejected him”.