The man suspected of raping Scarlett Keeling, a 15-year-old British teenager found dead on Goa’s Anjuna beach on February 18, appeared in the local Goa court wearing a police hood. But Scarlett’s mother says she is not at all convinced that Samson D’Souza, the 26-year-old barman who worked at Lui’s Bar and was seen with Scarlett on the day she died, is the right man. She wants the country’s premier investigating agency to take over the case.
Read that story here.
The case has rocked Indian and British media, following allegations of a police cover-up by Scarlett’s mother, Fiona MacKeown who refused to accept an initial post-mortem report that concluded that her daughter had drowned. Fiona has maintained all along that her daughter had been raped and murdered, pointing to the bruises and cuts on her body.
A second post mortem was ordered and found that Scarlett had indeed died of drowning. Significantly, it didn’t rule out homicide.
Meanwhile, media attention has also focused on Fiona MacKeown who left her 15-year-old daughter behind with the family of the local tour guide she had befriended. Fiona, her boyfriend and six other children headed off to a beach in the neighbouring state of Karnataka, leaving Scarlett behind in Goa. In the Daily Mail, Tom Rawstorne reports that Fiona is clear that she is not to blame
It was meant to be great family adventure – then 15-year-old Scarlett MacKeown was left alone by her mother in Goa. Days later she was dead. Murder… or a drunken accident? Here, her mother insists SHE wasn’t at fault.
As she tearfully retraced her teenage daughter’s last steps, Fiona MacKeown’s eye was caught by an object lying on the edge of the dusty track. It was a leather sandal — nothing special — but its discovery started a chain of events that has sent shockwaves through a part of the world still regarded by some as a corner of paradise.
Fiona knew at once that the shoe belonged to her daughter, 15-year-old Scarlett Keeling, whose body had been found on a nearby beach three days earlier.
And is time running out for ‘tourist paradise’ Goa? Andrew Buncombe in The Morung Express reports from Anjuna
From his vantage point on a cushion in Anjuna’s German Bakery and Café, Thomas Keller smiled nostalgically as he recalled first coming to Goa more than three decades ago. “It was 1974,” said the wiry 53-year-old from Denmark. “[Then] it was serious hard-core hippies. Now everybody can come and go.” And that may be the problem for Goa. When people like Mr Keller first arrived, they came overland, down the hippy trail that wound from Turkey through Iran and Afghanistan to this tiny former Portuguese enclave on India’s western coast. They were few enough in number to blend in among the coastal villages, and if they were in a blissed-out haze on marijuana or hash a lot of the time, nobody minded too much.
Finally, local Goa newspaper Navhind Times pays tribute to Fiona MacKeown in an editorial:
Goa police have started investigations along a new line into the death of the 15-year-old British girl Scarlett Keeling, but the loss that the state government and police – and collectively all of us Goans – have suffered during the three weeks in terms of image cannot be made up, no matter what we do. The adverse publicity we have got has not only damaged tourism but also our reputation as a state that can take up a case in the right earnest – without hiding or suppressing or manipulating facts – and go straight after the accused. How great a gratitude we owe to the mother of Scarlett, Fiona Mackeown! It was her tireless and determined fight for bringing the guilty to book that rocked the international and Indian media and forced the state government to take immediate steps to ensure fair play and justice to the deceased girl and her family.