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Loose ends in the story of British tourist's death

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March 08, 2008 12:18 IST

Even as mystery shrouds the death of 15-year-old British tourist, Scarlette Keeling, latest reports indicate that she may have been raped and then murdered, as was being claimed by her mother all these days.

Scarlette's body was found at the Anjuna beach in Goa on February and the police had dismissed it as a case of drowning. However, Scarlette's mother Fiona Mackeown claimed she was sure that her daughter had been murdered after sexually being assaulted.

The report of the first autopsy conducted on Scarlette at the Goa Medical College indicates that the British tourist was sexually assaulted and it is a case of homicidal drowning. Sources say this fact was hushed up and to the public it was reported as a case of death by drowning. It is learnt that the case was being hushed up as it would affect tourism in Goa. Tourism is considered to be the back bone of Goan economy.

The Goa police, however, say that they are not in a position to comment over this. A clear picture will emerge once the second autopsy report is out. The viscera sample of the girl has been sent to the Forensic Sciences Laboratory at New Delhi.

The police will also have to ascertain the report sent by the FSL before coming to any conclusion.

Meanwhile, several discrepancies are being reported in this case.

First and foremost the police made public the case only three days after her death, a fact that is going against the police now. The police while making the death public said it was a case caused due to drowning.

Another shocking aspect in the first autopsy report is that no water was found in the lungs of the victim. There was only sand, which was found in the windpipe. According to experts, if it is a case of drowning then there would be water found in the lungs.

Also, photographs of the deceased and the first autopsy report state indicate that there were several bruises on the body. Bruises could be seen on the shin, head and arm. Moreover, there are conflicting reports regarding the clothes she was wearing while the incident took place and even when her body was found. In some pictures, the body appeared almost naked while in some there was a top on the body.

Even as these revelations crop up, the Goa police have already started questioning people who were last seen with Scarlette on that fateful night. However, it have not detained anyone so far.

The police also say that a case of murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code will be registered only after the second autopsy report is out.

Even as developments take place at a quick pace in Goa, Times Online reported that a British man had witnessed Scarlette being sexually assaulted. It also reports that the man is afraid of going back to Goa and giving a statement, as he feels his life would be in danger.

Vicky Nanjappa

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