Indian police say Scarlett was given drugs, raped and left on beach to drown
By Andrew Buncombe, Asia Correspondent
Indpependent Friday, 14 March 2008
Indian police say they have "cracked" the murder of Scarlett Keeling – alleging the British teenager was given drugs and then repeatedly raped before she was dumped, unconscious, on a beach in Goa. They say the overdosed teenager subsequently drowned.
Detectives said Samson Da Souza, 29, one of three men arrested in connection with the rape and murder of the 15-year old, had "evil designs" on the teenager the moment he saw her and had confessed to his role in her death. He has allegedly told officers Scarlett was forced to take a cocktail of drugs including ecstasy and cocaine by himself and a known dealer, Placido Carvalho.
Mr Carvalho, also known as Shaunuboy, appeared in court yesterday after being arrested on Wednesday night. He was detained for 14 days in connection with rape, murder and supplying drugs but his lawyer, Peter D'Souza, said that he had not been charged with anything at this stage.
Inspector General Kishen Kumar of the state police told a press conference last night that he believed that, at about 4am on 18 February, Scarlett had wandered drunk into a beach bar called Lui's, where Mr Da Souza worked as a barman.
Mr Kumar said police believed Mr Da Souza and Mr Carvalho gave her more alcohol, along with ecstasy, LSD and cocaine. Mr Da Souza took her outside and attacked her as she drifted in and out of consciousness before he was startled by someone approaching with a torch. "He dumped the girl then and there, who at that time must be half-dead," said Mr Kumar. "Then he ran away." He said it was believed Scarlett then drowned.
The partly naked body of Scarlett, from Bideford, Devon, was discovered at the water's edge on Anjuna Beach almost four weeks ago. Police initially said she had accidentally drowned but her mother, Fiona MacKeown, insisted her daughter had been murdered and demanded that police order a second set of post-mortem tests and launch an investigation.
Last night, despite the police claim to have all but cracked the case, Mrs MacKeown remained unimpressed with the police effort and said she still believed officers were covering-up aspects of the case. "The arrest of two low-level persons, to my mind, is certainly not a completion of the investigations," she said.
Her lawyer, Vikram Varma, said police had not informed the family of the developments and had not yet even provided them with a copy of the deposition they placed before the court. "I have much distrust of the police because of their actions so far," he said.
Mrs MacKeown, attacked by some senior politicians in Goa and many critics in the UK for alleged negligence and failing to ensure her daughter's safety, has demanded that federal investigators take over the case – a request rejected by the Goan authorities.
Earlier this week, she wrote to the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, saying: "I have no faith in the leadership of the Goa police. The administration tried its best to hush up the death as a simple case of drowning."
Senior police have said there is evidence that some Goan officers acted to try to protect Mr Carvalho. The original investigating officer has been suspended for the second time in four years.
Mrs MacKeown took Scarlett, with six of her eight siblings, to India last November. At the time of the teenager's death, Mrs MacKeown and her boyfriend were out of the state and left Scarlett in the care of a local tour guide and his aunt. Mrs MacKeown later discovered that the 25-year-old guide, Julio Lobo, was having a sexual relationship with her daughter.