Father of murdered student hails ‘huge step forward’ in investigation
The father of a Norwegian business student whose alleged killer has spent 14 years on the run believes police have made “a huge step forward” in delivering justice for his daughter.
Martine Vik Magnussen, 23, was raped and murdered after a night out with friends to celebrate her end-of-term exams at the Maddox nightclub in Mayfair on March 14, 2008.
Her body was found among rubble in a basement in Great Portland Street, Westminster, central London, two days later.
On Monday, 14 years to the day since her death, her father Odd Petter Magnussen and his ex-wife, Martine’s mother Kristin Vik, laid flowers outside Regent’s University, Regent’s Park, where their daughter, who finished her course at the top of her class, had been studying.
Kristin Vik, the mother of murdered Norwegian student Martine Vik Magnussen also came to lay flowers outside the college where her daughter studied (James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)
The prime suspect in her murder is billionaire’s son Farouk Abdulhak, who fled to Yemen within hours of her death.
Last week a woman in her 60s was arrested in Westminster on suspicion of assisting an offender in connection with the case in an apparent breakthrough by the Metropolitan Police, although she has now been released on bail.
Mr Magnussen told PA news agency: “Fourteen years on this latest step … came as a huge surprise last week. I’m absolutely convinced that this is a huge step forward in trying to achieve justice in this case.”
Business student Martine Vik Magnussen, who was murdered in 2008 after a night out with friends in Mayfair (Metropolitan Police/PA) (PA Media)
The family met police officers and Foreign Office officials on Monday, and while investigators were not able to reveal the identity of the suspect, Mr Magnussen said he is “impressed” with the way they are handling the case.
He has also had encouraging conversations with the authorities in Yemen, where it is hoped that the shifting political situation could mean Abdulhak has less protection.
Mr Magnussen said: “We are having a very interesting, mutually respectful dialogue with the leadership on this case and I’m so pleased to see that we are able to sit down with them in telephone conferences and discuss a solution to this case, in a rational, constructive, productive and polite way.”
Suspected killer Farouk Abdulhak, who is living in Yemen which does not have an extradition treaty with Britain (Metropolitan Police/PA) (PA Media)
He told PA he is partly inspired in his battle for justice by his father, who was a supporter of the resistance during the Second World War, and the wider issues that the case throws up.
He said: “When our most fundamental values are challenged in this way, you know, somebody in their free will is taking another person’s life in this way, that really triggers all your values actually as a normal thinking human being.
“This case has this principle aspect beyond just justice for Martine but also as part of crime prevention. And that makes the whole case even more important in a way.
“Although it has been tremendously challenging to get anywhere, here we are. We have always through these 14 years been progressing slowly, incrementally.
“It’s a pure and basic and simple concept of human dignity in a case that can be solved dependent on just one or two persons.”
Abdulhak’s father Shaher, who died from cancer in 2020, was a billionaire nicknamed “the King of Sugar”.
On the night she died, Ms Magnussen left the Maddox nightclub with Farouk Abdulhak at around 2am and her body was found in the basement of the building where he lived.
A post-mortem examination gave her cause of death as compression to the neck, and in November 2010 an inquest recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.
Anyone with information can contact police on 020 8358 0300 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.