Beds, Herts & Bucks

Rachel Manning trial: Boyfriend's 'cell confession'

Rachel Manning
Image caption Rachel Manning's body was found in undergrowth at a golf course

A man who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend but released after an appeal confessed to the crime while in prison, a court has heard.

Barri White spent six years in jail for the murder of Rachel Manning in Milton Keynes in 2000 before he was freed.

Shahidul Ahmed, 41, is currently standing trial at Luton Crown Court for the crime, which he denies.

An anonymous witness said Mr White admitted strangling his girlfriend with the cord of a telephone.

Ms Manning, 19, went missing during a night out in December 2000 and was found strangled at Woburn Golf Club two days later.

The man, referred to as Witness 419, said Mr White made the confession in 2004 or 2005 but he did not tell anyone about it until 2009, by which time Mr White was a free man.

'Hit with car lock'

He told the court: "Originally he was saying he was innocent and was talking about his appeal but one day he opened up a little bit.

"He was saying they had been at a fancy dress party and he had been in a fight with some blokes and also had an argument with Rachel.

"I think he said he slapped her and she walked off.

"He said she went to a phone box and he caught up with her and punched her or slapped her and then strangled her with the cord of the telephone."

The witness said Mr White said he stood Ms Manning up by the side of the phone box "as if she was drunk" and waited for a friend to pick them up in a van.

"He said they drove to a golf course and said something about hitting her face with a car lock or steering lock to cover a mark on her face."

He told the court he did not have anything to gain by making the claim.

Mr White, who was sitting in the public gallery during the evidence, had earlier told the jury he and Ms Manning had gone separate ways after attending a 1970s-themed fancy dress party and a night club in Milton Keynes.

Mr Ahmed, from Bletchley, was arrested for an unconnected matter in 2010.

His DNA matched that found on a car steering lock which was discovered about 1,640ft (500m) away from Ms Manning's body, and which had traces of her blood on it.

Mr Ahmed has chosen not to give evidence at the trial, which continues.

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