India houseboat murder: British woman, 24, stabbed to death named as Dutch man arrested

The man was found fleeing the scene with just his passport

Police in Kashmir have launched a murder investigation after the blood-spattered body of a young British woman was found in a houseboat. She had reportedly been stabbed several times.

Officers were last night questioning a Dutch tourist who had also been staying on the New Beauty houseboat on Dal Lake, Srinagar, and who fled the scene in the early hours, taking only his passport. One of the sons of the owner of the houseboat was last night also helping officers. Neither man has been charged.

Police were apparently alerted early yesterday morning by the houseboat's owner after he found the woman's body in her bedroom. Police identified the victim as 24-year-old Sarah Elizabeth Groves, whose family is from Guernsey, and the Dutch tourist as Richard de Wit, 43. British officials said the victim's next of kin had been informed.

Ms Groves, a former pupil at the Catholic St Mary's boarding school in Ascot and a friend of Princess Beatrice, was born in Manchester but later moved to Guernsey with her family. Her businessman father, Victor Groves, 69, declined to speak about his daughter's death yesterday. Mr Groves, who lives in Guernsey with his wife, Kate, 66, said: "I think it's just too soon for us to gather our thoughts."

A schoolfriend from her time at St Mary's told The Independent on Sunday last night: "She was a caring, beautiful girl, the real light of her family. They will be devastated. She would see the best in people, always. She just cared, she was a vegetarian and she would go around and say things like 'life is beautiful'. There was an innocence to her. At school, she was always drawing, she'd always have a pad with her, She was the most talented at art in our year, and after we left she went to the Chelsea School of Art and had exhibitions in London. She must have thought she had the whole of her life to explore her talents. We'll never be able to come to terms with how somebody could do this to somebody so loving." Ms Groves had two brothers

The houseboat's owner, Abdul Rahim Shoda, told The IoS that Ms Groves had been staying there for the past two months. He also said the Dutch tourist took an adjoining room on the boat three days ago.

"This morning my wife got up at 5am and shouted to me to go out and buy bread. I could see that the door of the houseboat was already open," said Mr Shoda, who stays alongside the houseboat and noticed that his rowing boat was missing. "I went into the houseboat. He was not there. Then I saw Sarah. There was blood all over her body. My son took her to the hospital."

Mr Shoda said that he was able to track the movements of the Dutch tourist by calling the taxi stand at the tourist office in Srinagar and asking if anyone had given a lift to him. He was told that a tall man without any shoes and with no luggage had taken a Jeep to Jammu.

The police were able to trace the registration number of the taxi, and the Dutch tourist was intercepted near the town of Qazigund, around 40 miles south of Srinagar, and the half-way point to Jammu. "He has been detained and his questioning is going on," police said.

Police are now awaiting the victim's post-mortem examination results. Mr Shoba's son, Samir, was last night also still helping the police. Speaking by phone from the police station, he said that Ms Groves had travelled to Kashmir from Goa. He declined to comment on who had recommended the houseboat to her. "We're all feeling pretty bad right now," he said.

Mr Shoda said that he had last seen Ms Groves on Friday evening when he had taken a hot water bottle to her room. "She loved my family, my wife, my children and my mother," he said. "She was not like a tourist. She was a member of the family."

Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam