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Sabita Thanwani murder: Man gets indefinite hospital order

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A Tunisian man who stabbed and killed his 19-year-old British Indian girlfriend in 2022 has been given an indefinite hospital order by a UK court.

Sabita Thanwani, an aspiring psychologist, was stabbed in the neck by 24-year-old Maher Maaroufe at her student accommodation in Clerkenwell, east London, on March 19, 2022, Sky News reported.

She died at the scene, and a post-mortem later found the cause of death was a sharp force trauma to the neck, according to the report.

The Tunisian national was not a student and had been in a relationship with Sabita at the time of the attack, the report said.

Maher Maaroufe
Maher Maaroufe

He was suffering from schizoaffective disorder at the time and admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, the Met Police said.

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On Monday (15), Judge Nigel Lickley sentenced Maaroufe at the Old Bailey court in London to a hospital order without a time limit.

An hospital order is a court order which is used to force a person to go hospital for assessment or treatment for a mental 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 said.

He said Maaroufe had been “aggressive” and “controlling” towards Sabita during their relationship and hit her at least once. He added that Maaroufe carried out the attack during the “height” of a psychotic episode.

The court heard that Maaroufe entered the UK legally on an unknown date but had overstayed and was in the process of claiming asylum at the time of the attack.

Sabita’s family said that they have set up a charity in her 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,” the family said in a statement.

“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.”

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.”

(with inputs from PTI)

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