Sabita Thanwani killing: Tunisian charged with murder of former Dubai student in London

The 19 year old suffered sharp force trauma to her neck

Sabita Thanwani, 19, suffered serious injuries at student accommodation in Clerkenwell, London, before dying at the scene. PA
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A Tunisian man has been charged with the murder of London student Sabita Thanwani.

Maher Maaroufe, 22, of no fixed address, has also been charged with assaulting an emergency worker.

He is due to appear in custody at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

Thanwani was a British citizen originally from India who was educated in Dubai.

The Metropolitan Police were called to student accommodation in Sebastian Street, Clerkenwell, central London, shortly after 5am on Saturday where they found the 19 year old with serious injuries. Despite the efforts of paramedics, she was pronounced dead at the scene. Bouquets of flowers have been left outside the student flat close to the university.

A postmortem examination revealed the cause of death as sharp force trauma to the neck.

Thanwani, who was in her first year studying psychology at City, University of London, had lived in Dubai and attended Jumeirah College. Some of her relatives live in Dubai while her parents reside in Golders Green, north London.

A spokesman for Gems Education, which runs Jumeirah College, said in a statement: “Gems Education can confirm that Sabita Thanwani, who has died in London, graduated from Jumeirah College last year.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Sabita’s family following this tragic news involving a highly promising and much-loved former student.

"All students and members of staff will be offered support and counselling as the Jumeirah College community comes to terms with such a sad loss.”

Marc Morris, principal of Jumeirah College, added that the school had opened a condolence book for the Jumeirah College community. He said he hoped the privacy of the family would be respected at this difficult time.

Detectives from the Met Police’s Specialist Crime Command are investigating and continue to provide support to the family.

Thanwani’s family on Monday paid tribute to their “angel” who “was pure and did not see bad in anyone”.

In a statement issued through police, they said her mission was to “help everyone”.

The scene in Sebastian Street in Clerkenwell, London. PA

“Sabita Thanwani was our daughter. Our angel. Her life, that we hoped would be long, was cut tragically short,” the family statement read. “She was ripped away from those who loved her so very dearly; her mum, dad, brother, grandparents, extended family and friends.

“Sabita was the most caring and loving person we have ever known. She inspired us every day of her precious 19 years of life. Her mission was to help everyone.

“She was studying psychology at City University to make this happen. Her whole life was ahead of her, a life where her radiant smile and incredible heart could only spread warmth and kindness.

“In her short life, she helped so many. Sabita was pure and did not see bad in anyone, because there was no badness in her own awesome heart.

“We will never ever stop loving or missing our beautiful, irreplaceable Sabita. The girl that was an angel upon the earth is now an angel in heaven.”

The family said they are praying for violence against women and girls to come to an end.

“We can only pray that lessons will be learnt and that somehow, there will come a day when girls and women are safe,” they said.

“We will never be able to thank the Metropolitan Police enough for their dedication and tireless work in finding justice for our Sabita. From our hearts, we thank everyone for their love and support.

“We ask that our privacy is respected and as a family we can quietly grieve.”

Updated: March 22, 2022, 12:02 PM
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