Boyfriend arrested on suspicion of murder after student found dead

·2-min read
A police officer keeps guard outside the university halls in London where Sabita Thanwani was found dead
A police officer keeps guard outside the university halls in London where Sabita Thanwani was found dead

The boyfriend of a teenage student who was found dead at her university halls has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Sabita Thanwani, a 19-year-old psychology student, was living on the top floor of the six-storey block. Police said she had suffered “serious neck injuries” in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Following a man hunt lasting from the early hours to Sunday afternoon, officers arrested Maher Maaroufe, 22, who they were searching for in connection with her death.

Mr Maaroufe was arrested by officers in the Clerkenwell area of central London. He has been arrested on suspicion of murder and assault on police and remains in police custody.

Detective Chief Inspector Linda Bradley who leads the investigation said: “I would like to thank everyone for publicising and sharing our appeal to trace Maaroufe.

“Sabita’s family have been updated with this development and continue to be supported by specially trained officers. Our deepest condolences are with them.

“I would ask everyone to respect their privacy at this indescribably devastating time for them as they come to terms with Sabita’s murder.”

Ms Thanwani was was reading psychology at City, University of London
Ms Thanwani was was reading psychology at City, University of London

Police were called to Arbour House on Sebastian Street in Clerkenwell, east London, at around 5.10am on Saturday by a member of the public. Officers then called London Ambulance Service, but Ms Thanwani was pronounced dead at the scene.

Fellow students said that Ms Thanwani was reading psychology at City, University of London.

One resident of Arbour House, a 21-year-old business student, heard the fire alarm go off early on Saturday morning, then someone running out of a ground floor exit.

Leona Sigmud, 20, a music student, said: “I saw her in the hallways but I never really spoke to her… When I heard, I didn’t believe it at first. We are all shaken up.”

Although formal identification awaits, Sabita’s family have been informed and will be supported by specialist officers. A special post-mortem examination will be arranged in due course.

Police arrested Maher Maaroufe, 22, on suspicion of Ms Thanwani's murder
Police arrested Maher Maaroufe, 22, on suspicion of Ms Thanwani's murder

DCI Bradley had previously issued an urgent appeal for Mr Maaroufe to hand himself in, saying he has links across London, particularly in the Marble Arch, Edgware Road, and Lewisham areas as well as Cambridgeshire.

“Maaroufe had been in a relationship with Sabita but he was not a student. He is a Tunisian national of no fixed address,” she said.

Officers previously released a photo of Mr Maaroufe with dark hair, a moustache and beard, but they say he has since shaved his head and has little facial hair.

Flowers have been left at the doorway to the building in tribute to the young woman.

A special post-mortem examination will be scheduled in due course.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting