Minister says dead girl's mother was 'irresponsible'

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The Independent Online

Goa's Chief Minister has sparked fresh controversy over the circumstances surrounding the murder of Scarlett Keeling by accusing her mother of negligence and saying she failed to properly take care of her.

Digambar Kamat rejected a request from Fiona MacKeown that federal investigators take over the investigation into the murder of her 15-year-old daughter because local police were corrupt. While he said the actions of police in Goa would be examined, he also sought to turn the focus upon Mrs MacKeown.

"She left a minor girl in someone else's custody," said Mr Kamat. "Tourists should be more responsible."

Police said they wished to speak to Mrs MacKeown but denied reports that they are to investigate her for negligence. Inspector Braz Menezes said he wished to give Mrs MacKeown a copy of the deposition police placed before the court that remanded in custody a barman at the beach bar where Scarlett was last seen alive.

Samson Da Souza, 28, has been remanded for 14 days in connection with the rape and murder of Scarlett.

Yet Mrs MacKeown's lawyer, Vikram Varma, said he believed the police might seek to investigate her in order to shift attention from allegations she has made about local officers. "They have decided to harass her because she has shown the corruption to the media," said Mr Varma.

The partially naked body of Scarlett, from Devon, was found three weeks ago. Police initially said she had drowned but pressure from Mrs MacKeown forced the authorities to conduct a second set of post-mortem tests which suggested her death was "homicidal".