Sabita Thanwani death: Maher Maaroufe given indefinite hospital order for killing 19-year-old student

Maher Maaroufe, 24, stabbed his girlfriend Sabita Thanwani in the neck at her student accommodation in Clerkenwell on March 19 2022.
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A man who nearly beheaded a 19-year-old student in London when he stabbed her to death has been given an indefinite hospital order.

Maher Maaroufe, 24, stabbed his girlfriend Sabita Thanwani in the neck at her student accommodation in Clerkenwell, central London, on March 19 2022.

Officers attended and on entering the room, found Sabita with serious injuries. Despite the efforts of emergency services, she was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Sabita Thanwani, 19Sabita Thanwani, 19
Sabita Thanwani, 19

Maaroufe, who was suffering from schizoaffective disorder at the time, admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The Tunisian national also pleaded guilty to assaulting an emergency worker when he headbutted a police officer trying to arrest him.

On Monday, Maaroufe was sentenced at the Old Bailey to a hospital order without limit of time.

Detective Inspector Jonny Newell said: “Sabita’s family have been devastated by her loss and our thoughts remain with them at this time.

“It is heartbreaking that a young woman has lost her life because of the violent actions of one man and we are pleased he has faced justice.

“Our New Met for London plan makes clear that the entire organisation is committed to improving the safety of women and girls and our officers are using all the tools at their disposal to do this.”

A statement issued by Sabita’s family said: "There is no escaping the grief and pain of a loss so great, it is almost unspeakable, but we must speak. We must speak on behalf of our beloved, Sabita. Our speech will take the form of action as we have set up a charity in Sabita’s name. 

“The charity will be a reflection of what Sabita had hoped to achieve in her life, dedicated to helping others. The focus will be on gender equality education and the protection of vulnerable girls and women. This is our goal to ensure Sabita’s senseless murder does not extinguish the beautiful light of hope that she shone so brightly throughout her short life.

"It is a time to grieve and that time may never truly end, but we will endeavour to find the strength and courage to move forward and we will remain forever grateful and awestruck that such a particularly beautiful, gentle soul was ours to hold and to love, even if it was for a heartbreakingly brief time."