There’s a new Netflix true crime documentary based in Portswood that is absolutely terrifying
Hannah Foster was kidnapped on Upper Shaftesbury Avenue in 2003
"Real Crime: Hannah's Killer" is a true crime documentary about Hannah Foster, a 17-year-old girl who was kidnapped, raped and murdered after a night-out in Southampton in 2003.
After the murder, Hannah's killer, Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, fled to India and avoided arrest for five years.
The documentary tells the heart-breaking story of Hannah's parent's fight for justice, which included flying to India to appeal publicly around the country for help to find Kohli.
Towards the end of last year, the documentary was put on Netflix, and last night I decided to watch it with my housemates.
As students at Southampton, we were particularly moved because, like most true crime documentaries, it offers detailed information and pictures of where the incident took place – which, in this case, was an area that we all call home, Portswood.
On the evening of her disappearance, Hannah was going for drinks with her friend on Portswood High Street and was last seen dropping her friend off at the Portswood Broadway Uni Link bus stop.
CCTV footage shows Hannah walking past the Boots on the High Street, turning the corner past where Baffi now stands, and going down Upper Shaftesbury Avenue (where she lived).
The documentary also explains that moments before Kohli kidnapped Hannah, he was seen in The Mitre pub (a popular student location). Kohli left The Mitre, got into his white van and parked it on Upper Shaftesbury Avenue. When Hannah walked past soon after, he kidnapped her.
Kholi's van was then spotted on the motorway, driving towards Portsmouth. The investigator stated that at some point in the journey Kholi must have stopped the van, and raped and murdered Hannah, as traces of her blood and his semen were found in the vehicle.
Kohli was eventually found and arrested in India in 2004, but wasn't brought back to the UK until June 2007. On 25th November 2008, Kohli was found guilty of all charges at Winchester Crown Court and sentenced to a minimum term of 24 years imprisonment. Hannah's family expressed disappointment with the sentence, hoping that the killer would spend the rest of his life in prison.
Under this sentence, Kohli is expected to remain in prison until at least 2030, when he will be 63 years old.
Hannah's story, and other recent incidents of rape and assault in the area, are chilling reminders that Southampton is still a dangerous place for women, especially those walking around alone, in the dark. Students are advised to use UniLink, the Safety Bus and Radio Taxis, as a safer way to get home.