23-year-old Martine Vik Magnussen was raped and murdered in 2008. Her body was found under debris and garbage in a London basement. Her Yemeni killer managed to elude police and avoid addressing his guilt until slipping up recently in an interview with the BBC.
Farouk Abdulhak, the playboy son of an Arab billionaire who fled the United Kingdom to Yemen, admitted to killing the student, writing off her tragic rape and murder as "just a sex accident gone wrong."
Despite this admission of guilt, Abdulhak has made it clear he has no intention of returning to the U.K. to face justice, in part because he is not a fan of the weather.
The murder and getaway
Magnussen, a Norwegian student, was last seen alive on March 14, 2008. She had gone out to celebrate having aced an exam at Regent's Business School. Between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m., she was seen getting into a taxi with fellow student and friend Farouk Abdulhak, reported the Guardian.
One of the victim's friends suggested the victim and her killer had a platonic relationship and that she had rebuked him in a prior instance where he had attempted to kiss her.
Magnussen's friends later noted that Abdulhak got angry that evening whenever anybody attempted to take a picture of him and his future victim together, reported the BBC.
Two days later, police found her naked body dumped in the basement of a central London flat where the unrepentant rapist had been living. Abdulhak had reportedly made a "token attempt" to disguise Magnussen's corpse.
The Guardian noted that Magnussen's body showed signs she had put up a significant fight against her rapist. She had suffered 43 cuts and grazes, "many of them typical of assault type injuries or those received in a struggle."
Abdulhak erased his Facebook profile and boarded a March 14 flight to Cairo. A Yemeni national, he then returned to his homeland on his father's private jet.
The rapist's father, whose wealth enabled this escape, was Shaher Abdulhak, the founder of Shaher Trading. Shaher died of cancer in 2020, at which time, his net worth was roughly $8.4 billion, reported the Daily Mail.
While Abdulhak was Scotland Yard's prime suspect, his powerful family protected him. Additionally, Yemen has no extradition treaty with the U.K., so British officials proved powerless to force him back to the island to face justice.
Additional efforts were made, largely by the victim's father, to pressure the British government to use its leverage over the Islamic-terrorist haven to compel Abdulhak's extradition, but these too proved to be in vain.
The admission of guilt
Abdulhak has previously ignored interview requests from Western journalists but agreed to speak to BBC News Arabic special correspondent Nawal Al-Maghafi — a fellow Yemeni.
Ten days into a series of text exchanges, the rapist told Al-Maghafi, "I did something when I was younger, it was a mistake."
The rapist expressed apprehension over speaking to Al-Maghafi, recognizing her to be a journalist, but pressed on with his admission, writing, "I deeply regret the unfortunate accident that happened. 2 regret coming here [to Yemen] should have stayed and paid the piper."
"It's all a blur," said the rapist, noting that he has recurring flashbacks of the murder and that the smell of certain perfumes still make him uncomfortable.
When Al-Maghafi pressed the rapist on whether he would come back to face penalties over Magnussen's rape and murder, Abdulhak said, "I don't think justice will be served. ... I find that the criminal justice system there [in the UK] is heavily biased. I find that they will want to make an example of me being a son of an Arab, being… a son of someone rich… it's way too late."
Having moved the body and left the country, Abdulhak said he is "legally [expletive]."
On another occasion where the two discussed Abdulhak's crimes, the rapist wrote of Magnussen's death as "just an accident. Nothing nefarious. ... Just a sex accident gone wrong."
He claimed that he had been on cocaine the evening of March 14.
Justice delayed but not impossible
After learning of Al-Maghafi's correspondence with Abdulhak, the victim's father, Odd Petter Magnussen, said, "He has no empathy, obviously, with our family, and he doesn't show any sort of remorse or anything."
The interview not only confirmed Odd Petter's suspicions about Abdulhak's character but that there was cause for hope.
"I'm optimistic we might have a solution in the longer term… because we can talk to him. I'm more than ever convinced that there will be a solution to this case. I just hope it will be on… my ethical terms," added Odd Petter.
Magnussen's father previously emphasized that Abdulhak is a coward but "cannot hide forever."
Metropolitan police maintain that they "continue to do everything in our power to have [Abdulhak] returned to the UK to stand trial."
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