Teenager 'fed drugs' by murder accused

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The Independent Online

The mother of murdered teenager Scarlett Keeling claimed today that her daughter had been fed drugs by the two men accused of killing and raping her.

Fiona MacKeown also told a court that the Indian state of Goa, where her daughter died in February 2008, was rife with drugs and even top local government officials were involved in the trade.

Ms MacKeown said 15-year-old Scarlett, whose body was found on a beach, had deliberately been given cocaine, heroin and ecstasy by two local men Samson D'Souza, 30, and Placido Carvalho, 42, who deny culpable homicide, outraging modesty, sexual assault and denying evidence.

She told the Goa Children's Court that the tourist state of Goa was corrupted by drugs, with Home Minister Ravi Naik and his son Roy heading a cartel with the help of police.

She said: "I have been told that Ravi Naik, Roy Naik, (Scarlett's Indian boyfriend) Julio Lobo, Samson D'Souza and Placido Carvalho gave my daughter drugs."

The 46-year-broke down and wept as she identified a pair of dark blue shorts, white underwear and brown sandals as Scarlett's belongings that she found behind a shack on the beach a day after the tragedy.

Several pages of Scarlett's diary, which was also produced in court today, were missing, Ms MacKeown suggested, adding that it was the police and not her who had made its contents public.

Carvalho's lawyer, Peter D'Souza, constantly questioned the quality of investigation carried out by India's premier crime-fighting organisation, the Central Bureau of Investigation, pointing out that the investigating officer had not been attending the trial.

He also said there was a discrepancy between the first and second post-mortem examinations where the issue of her rape emerged.

He told the court that Ms MacKeown made false statements under oath today when she denied knowing her daughter was sexually active, took drugs and used to get drunk.

Ms MacKeown, from Bideford, Devon, said she began suspecting Mr Naik and his son of involvement in the drug cartel when he criticised her in public, but had no evidence to substantiate it.

Denying that she herself saw drugs being peddled on north Goa's Anjuna beach, Ms MacKeown said two friends had told her about it.

Under cross-examination, she was also questioned about her previous convictions and admitted being given an eight-month suspended sentence for benefit fraud in the UK.

After the hearing, she said: "It was very confusing in there.

"They were just wasting time and trying to paint a bad picture of Scarlett. They were also bringing up my past to suggest that I was bad."

The case continues.