London, Nov 14 (IANS) A British man accused of raping and murdering a teenager before fleeing to his native India says a gang kidnapped and forced him to have sex with her.
Maninder Pal Singh Kohli was arrested in Darjeeling district of West Bengal in 2004 and extradited to Britain last year to stand trial for the 2003 rape and murder of 17-year-old Hannah Foster in the city of Southampton.
But appearing before the jury at Winchester Crown Court Thursday Kohli said he was kidnapped by a gang of three men who bound and blindfolded him before forcing him to have sex with a girl he now believes to be Hannah.
He said he was a victim of 'revenge' because he owed 16,000 pounds to a colleague at work, and that he fled to India a few days after the incident to "save himself".
The 41-year-old former sandwich delivery man said he was having an affair with the wife of his colleague, James Dennis, from whom he had repeatedly borrowed money.
When Dennis asked for the money to be returned, including a statutory demand from a solicitor, Kohli said he threatened to reveal the secret affair.
Both James Dennis and his wife Carole deny that she had an affair with Kohli.
The father of two told the court that he did not know who the girl in question was but he now suspected it was Hannah Foster because his DNA was found in semen discovered by police on her dead body. He said he believed she had also been forced to have sex with him.
Kohli told the trial that March 13, 2003, the day before Hannah disappeared, Dennis's brother Jonathan threatened him, demanding that he pay his brother back.
He said the men who kidnapped him threatened to kill him if he did not provide 25,000 pounds by March 18.
After a short journey bundled in a van, he became aware of a girl in the van.
"They said, 'You like having sex with a girl'. Then I told them I was a married man with two kids - do not do that," Kohli told the court.
Kohli said he was later taken back to his van, which he had left with Dennis earlier in the day, after which he went home.
The case continues.
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