Detectives investigating the death of a Norwegian student they suspect was murdered by the son of a Yemeni billionaire in London in 2008 have made an apparent breakthrough, as they announced an arrest on Tuesday.
Scotland Yard said a woman in her 60s had been taken into custody on suspicion of assisting an offender.
Officers are still working to bring to justice the killer of Martine Vik Magnussen, 23, who had been raped.
She disappeared after a night out with friends, having left with Farouk Abdulhak. Her body was found two days later among rubble in the basement of the building in which Abdulhak lived on Great Portland Street, Westminster. He left the country within hours.
On Tuesday, Det Ch Insp Jim Eastwood said: “Martine’s family has never given up their fight for justice and, in the 14 years since her death, they have campaigned tirelessly to keep her in the public consciousness.
“Martine’s family has been informed of this latest development. Though it represents a positive step, there is still much more work for us to do. Most importantly, Farouk Abdulhak should be aware that this matter has not, and will not, go away.
“My team and I will continue to seek justice and use all opportunities available to pursue him and bring him back to the UK. His status as a wanted man will remain and we will not cease in our efforts to get justice for Martine’s family. I’m appealing to Farouk Abdulhak directly: come back to the UK. Come back to face justice.
“Since Martine’s death, her family has shown true determination, together with my investigation team, as we want to provide some closure for Martine’s family.”
Magnussen was out with other students from the Regent’s Business School celebrating finishing their end-of-term exams at the Maddox nightclub in Mayfair on the night she died. She is said to have left the nightclub with Abdulhak at about 2am, before her body was discovered days later.
A postmortem gave her cause of death as compression to the neck and, in November 2010, an inquest recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.
Her father described her as a “light, jolly, enjoyable person”, adding: “In any social setting, she could lift any sort of atmosphere. She was pure sunshine.”
Speaking in February 2010 – two years on from his daughter’s death – Odd Petter Magnussen told the Observer he believed Abdulhak was being sheltered from justice by his powerful family and profiting from the absence of an extradition treaty with Britain. “This is the oldest and most serious crime known to man: the raping and killing of a woman – in any culture, in any religion, in any nation of the world,” he said.
He had expressed hope that political pressure could force Abdulhak back to the UK, telling reporters: “This question of justice is something that has to do with right and wrong. Irrespective of the political or religious environment in the world, justice has to prevail.”
But, in the following 12 years, little progress was made.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 020 8358 0300 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.