Brazilian admits killing British girl found in suitcase

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The Independent US

The former boyfriend of a British teenage girl, parts of whose body were found headless and dismembered in a discarded suitcase, has admitted killing her and photographing her remains on his mobile phone, Brazilian detectives said last night.

Mohammed D'Ali Carvalho Santos, 20, was charged with murder after the body parts of Cara Burke, 17, were found in the city of Goiania on Monday. A state police inspector, Jorge Moreira da Silva, said Mr Santos killed Ms Burke after she threatened to tell his parents that he was a drug dealer addicted to cocaine. She was also threatening to tell police, he added.

The Londoner's body is thought to have been identified from a tattoo on her torso. Her remains were discovered by the side of a river in the city.

Lenita Aves, a spokesman for Goiania's Policia Civil, which is investigating the killing, said that Mr Santos had admitted stabbing her to death with a kitchen knife at the home they had shared before cutting her body into pieces and putting parts of it into a suitcase.

She revealed that detectives had confiscated photographs which Mr Santos had taken of Ms Burke's decapitated body on his mobile phone before he dumped the case beside the river. He also threw her legs and arms into the water.

Ms Alves said: "I can confirm that we arrested Mohammed D'Ali Carvalho Santos yesterday near the murder scene. I cannot tell you exactly where, but it was in a hiding place he had fled to after the murder. He has already confessed to murdering Cara and decapitating her body.

"He has yet to show any remorse for what he has done. He has not cried or expressed regret of any kind."

Police believe that Mr Santos had turned up a music player moments before the killing to drown out her cries. He reportedly told officers that he had at first left her body in the bath and gone to a party, before returning and decapitating the corpse the next day.

Ms Alves said: "The murder took place at a flat in Goiania, near to the university, which they used to share until they stopped dating some time before the killing after Cara ended the relationship.

"Cara was living with friends at the time she was murdered and Mohammed was still at the flat. He killed her with a single stab wound to the ribs, using a kitchen knife which we have recovered and are currently examining for forensic evidence.

"We have found drugs but I am not in a position to say how many drugs have been found or what type of drugs they are."

Ms Burke's body is being kept at the coroner's office in Goiania.

The Foreign Office said in a statement last night: "We can confirm the death of a British national in Goiania in Brazil. Next of kin have been informed and we are providing consular assistance to the family."

Mr Santos is understood to be a Brazilian national whose mother was living in London, where the former couple met. Travel documents showed that Ms Burke had been in Brazil for three months. Her Brazilian friends said that she liked the country and had visited twice before.

Her mother is understood to be making arrangements to fly to Brazil.

Goiania is the capital and the largest city in the state of Goias, in the central-western region of Brazil. It is 120 miles south-west of the capital, Brasilia.