Man convicted of killing UK teenager on Goa beach

Scarlett KeelingImage copyright
Family handout

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Scarlett was “bubbly, clever, lively and intelligent,” her family said

A Indian court has convicted one of the two men charged over the rape and killing of British teenager Scarlett Keeling in Goa in 2008.

The high court in Goa found Samson D’Souza guilty of “culpable homicide not amounting to murder”. It upheld the acquittal of Placido Carvalho.

A lower court had acquitted both men in 2016 after a prolonged trial, but the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) appealed against the verdict.

D’Souza will be sentenced on Friday.

He was found guilty of assault, destruction of evidence and providing narcotics to Scarlett, among other charges, the Keelings’ lawyer, Vikram Verma, told the BBC.

Scarlett’s bruised and partially clothed body was found on a beach in Goa in February 2008. The 15-year-old from Bideford in Devon was on a six-month “trip of a lifetime” to India with her family when she died.

Police in Goa initially concluded her death was accidental but, after a campaign by her family, a second post-mortem examination in March 2008 revealed she had been drugged and raped before drowning in seawater.

Delays in court saw a trial start in March 2010, but a verdict was not reached until 2016.

Mr Carvalho and D’Souza denied all charges. They were acquitted by judge Vandana Tendulkar at Goa Children’s Court in September 2016.

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AFP/Getty Images

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Samson D’Souza (left) and Placido Carvalho were alleged to have plied Scarlett with drugs, raped her and left her unconscious

What happened?

Scarlett’s body was found on Anjuna beach just after dawn on 18 February 2008.

The family had spent two months at the Goan resort before travelling down the coast to neighbouring Karnataka – but Scarlett was allowed to return to attend a Valentine’s Day beach party.

She was left in the care of 25-year-old tour guide Julio Lobo, Scarlett’s mother Fiona MacKeown told media outlets.

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Media captionScarlett’s mother Fiona MacKeown showed the BBC’s Justin Rowlatt where she found her daughter’s clothes two days after she died

“That’s the last memory I have of her, squealing and being excited because I said yes,” Ms MacKeown said.

“I have to live with that every day that I let her go.”

Two days after Scarlett’s body was discovered, her mother found her sandals, pants and shorts close to the beach.

“There was no investigation,” she said at the time.

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Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images

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Scarlett’s body was found on Anjuna beach in Goa

Traces of cocaine, ecstasy and LSD were found in her system and she suffered 50 separate injuries in the attack, the trial court heard.

The case was taken up by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation and D’Souza and Carvalho were arrested in March 2008.

The prosecution alleged the men were working at a beach-side shack near where Scarlett’s body was found, had plied her with drugs and then attacked her.

What caused the trial delay?

It took two years for the trial to begin, in March 2010. With 72 witnesses to be called, the court case was expected to last a year – but prosecutor SR Rivonkar resigned the following February, causing further delays.

By December 2013, 30 witnesses had given evidence, with dozens more to go.

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Scarlett’s body is buried on the family’s smallholding in Bideford, north Devon

Along with the delays in court, Ms MacKeown had to wait four and a half years to bury her daughter.

She was finally laid to rest in June 2012, in a garden at the family’s home in Devon.

The 2016 acquittal of the two men prompted angry statements from Ms MacKeown.

The verdict also drew widespread criticism in Goa, leading to the CBI filing a petition for a retrial.

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