Sabita Thanwani: who is suspect Maher Maaroufe - and who was City University student murdered in London halls?

Officers were called to Arbour House on 19 March to reports that Sabita Thanwani, a British national, was injured

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

A man has been charged with murder over the death of 19-year-old student Sabita Thanwani.

Maher Maaroufe, 22, was charged with murder as well as assaulting an emergency worker, the Metropolitan Police said.

Thanwani was found with serious neck injuries at her London halls, but despite the best efforts of attending paramedics, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Maaroufewill appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 22 March.

Here is everything you need to know about it.

Who was Sabita Thanwani?

Thanwani was a student studying psychology at City University, with ambitions to “help everyone”, her family said.

In a statement issued through police, they paid tribute to her, saying they pray that “there will come a day when girls and women are safe”.

They described Thanwani as “an angel” who “was pure and did not see bad in anyone”.

The family statement said: “Sabita Thanwani was our daughter. Our angel. Her life, that we hoped would be long, was cut tragically short. 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.”

What happened to her?

Officers were called to Arbour House, in Sebastian Street, Clerkenwell, at around 5.10am on Saturday (19 March) to reports that Thanwani, a British national, was injured.

They attended along with medics to find she had suffered serious neck injuries but, despite their efforts, she was pronounced dead at the scene.

A post-mortem examination carried out at Whittington Hospital on Monday gave the cause of death as sharp force trauma to the neck.

Who has been arrested?

Metropolitan Police officers detained Maher Maaroufe, 22, on Sunday (20 March) afternoon, a day after Thanwani died.

The force said Maaroufe was arrested on suspicion of murder and assault on police. He has since been charged with murder as well as assaulting an emergency worker

Maaroute, a Tunisian national of no fixed address, who is not a student, is believed to have been with her at the time of her death and has been arrested on suspicion of murder and assault on police.

He had reportedly been in a relationship with Thanwani, and is believed to have links across London, particularly in the Marble Arch, Edgware Road, and Lewisham areas. He is also known to travel to Cambridgeshire.

Detective Chief Inspector Linda Bradley, who is leading 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.

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.