Murder of Martine Vik Magnussen
Great Portland Street, where Magnussen's body was found in a block of flats.
|Date||14 March 2008|
|Location||Great Portland Street, London|
|Martine Vik Magnussen|
6 February 1985|
Nesøya, Asker, Norway
|Died||14 March 2008
Great Portland Street, London
Cause of death
|Parent(s)||Odd Petter Magnussen
Kristin Vik Ronnaug
The Martine Vik Magnussen case involves the rape and murder of a 23-year-old Norwegian female business student, Martine Vik Magnussen. She was found in the basement of an apartment block, hidden under rubble, in a block of flats in Great Portland Street, London on 16 March 2008. She died from compression to the neck, because of strangulation.
Details of the case
Murder and investigation
Magnussen was last seen alive sometime between 0200 and 0300 GMT on 14 March at the Maddox nightclub in London's wealthy Mayfair district, more than a mile from the basement where her body was found. The club's official website states that since its opening, it "has been London's hottest member's club, attracting everyone from P Diddy to Keira Knightley." Friends reported Magnussen missing to police on 15 March. Police appealed for a man of Arabic appearance, who Magnussen is believed to have left the club with, to come forward.
In early April 2008, it was still unknown when Magnussen's body was to be returned to Norway from London, UK, but in late April it was known that the body was being returned, and a funeral was to be held in Asker, off Oslo in April/May 2008.
Scotland Yard wishes to question the man that Magnussen left the club with on the night she was murdered, Farouk Abdulhak, her fellow student and the son of billionaire and one of Yemen's wealthiest men, Shaher Abdulhak. Farouk Abdulhak and Vik Magnussen were seen leaving the Maddox nightclub in the early hours of 14 March, and getting into a cab together. He lived in the block of flats where she was found. Police have flight records showing that Farouk Abdulhak left London for Cairo on 14 March, and believe he then fled to Yemen. It is believed that the suspect proceeded from Cairo to Sanaa in his father's private plane. On Sunday 23 March it was reported that Farouk had appeared at the offices of lawyer Mohammed al Bakwli in Sana'a, capital of Yemen, seeking legal assistance. Mr. al Bakwli says Farouk can be questioned by British authorities, as long as it happens in Yemen. Farouk was mentioned as a suspect by the British police for the first time on 23 June 2008. On 30 July 2008, he was officially named a suspect by the Metropolitan Police, and listed as wanted on Scotland Yard's "Wanted" site.
Abdulhak is understood by the police (per 30 July 2008) to be living in Yemen. The government in Yemen is aware of the UK's request to question Abdulhak, however the UK does not have an extradition agreement with Yemen. A demonstration in Oslo on 1 December 2009 called for further action from Norwegian authorities.
On 30 April 2008, a man in his 50s was arrested, for suspicion of assisting the murderer.
A number of items Magnussen wore when she was last seen, were not found when police discovered her body. The Scotland Yard has published photos of similar items. The missing items are: Christian Dior earrings, snakeskin shoes, a Marc Jacobs handbag, a Guess watch, a silver costume diamond ring, and her jeans (described as blue and of a "skinny" fit).
Life of Martine Vik Magnussen
Martine Vik Magnussen was born in Nesøya, in Asker, Norway. Her father worked within sales and marketing in the IT industry and was also running a small family business that produced a ski sledge for transportation of people on snow. This venture is now run by his son.
Martine was a former student at Kristelig Gymnasium in Oslo, Norway, a private Christian school. Magnussen has worked for clothing retail stores in Oslo, and for Massimo Dutti. In 2006, she went to Poland to study medicine, but quit the studies after six months. In early 2007, she went to London, where she worked for six months, before she commenced her studies at Regent Business School in autumn 2007. At the night of her murder, she was celebrating coming top of her class.
On 10 June 2010 her father paid tribute to the Metropolitan Police and the British authorities at a remembrance event hosted by her family at Regent's College and unveiled a tree planted in her memory. Mr Magnussen also revealed that he was still engrossed in a battle to change the laws which he said have allowed the man suspected of his daughter's killing, Farooq Abdulhak, to get away.
Yemeni news coverage
According to the Norwegian TV channel TV2, the local Arab media in Yemen do not mention a word about the fact that the son of one of the countries richest men, Shaher Abdulhak, is wanted for questioning regarding the death of Magnussen. In Sana'a, the capital of Yemen, the case is a non-issue. Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, and Shaher Abdulhak is the founder and owner of a Yemen based company that is involved with regional trade and industry, he is the chairman for the hotel Taj Sheba in Sana'a, and is an executive with the Yemen franchise of Coca-Cola. He has big political influence in Sana'a, with close connections to the government.
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- - Redsel i arabiske aviser (Norwegian), TV2, 20 March 2008