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Scarlett Murder Trial: Mother Gives Evidence

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Scarlett Murder Trial: Mother Gives Evidence

Post  fishie on Fri 30 Jul - 18:07


Scarlett Murder Trial: Mother Gives Evidence


Scarlett Murder Trial: Mother Gives Evidence

5:32pm UK, Friday July 30, 2010

Jo Couzens, Sky News Online
The mother of a murdered British teenager, whose body was found on a beach in India, has told a court police at first tried to convince her that her daughter drowned.

Fiona MacKeown talks to journalists outside court in Panaji, India, ahead of trial of two men accused of killing her daughter Scarlett Keeling

Fiona MacKeown speaks to reporters outside court in India at the start of the trial

The bruised and partially-clothed body of Scarlett Keeling, 15, was discovered on Anjuna beach in the tourist state of Goa in February 2008.

Police initially said Scarlett drowned because she was drunk but pressure from her family forced a second autopsy that indicated she was killed and may also have been raped.

A visibly upset Fiona MacKeown, from Bideford in Devon, told the court she did not believe her daughter drowned because she was a good swimmer.

Police also tried to suppress the fact there were bruises on her daughter's face, she said.

She added that it was only her persistence that led to the discovery of crucial evidence such as her daughter's sandals, underwear and shorts on the beach.


Scarlett Keeling's body was found on Anjuna beach in Goa

Indian police have faced strong criticism for their handling of the teenager's death.

Samson D'Souza, 28, and Placido Carvalho, 36, who were allegedly seen drinking at a bar with Keeling the night she died were later arrested.

They both deny culpable homicide, sexual assault and destroying evidence.

The accused men face between seven and 21 years in prison if convicted. They are out on bail.

Scarlett had been on holiday in India with her mother, her mother's boyfriend, and her six siblings at the time of her death.

The next hearing is scheduled for August 2, when Mrs MacKeown will be cross-examined by the defence.

India's legal system is notoriously slow and overburdened and cases can often drag on for years.

Goa is a former Portuguese colony and a popular backpacking destination. It is also known for its drug-infused beach parties.

Nearly 2.5 million tourists visit its numerous beach resorts every year, nearly half a million of them foreign nationals.
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