Pictures back claim that girl was murdered

At Luis' beach bar, beers were being sunk gently as the last light of the day slipped away across the ocean. Orange lanterns hung from the coconut matting roof and a gentle jazz soundtrack spilt from the speakers. It would have been hard to imagine a more tranquil setting.

And yet it was on the ocean's edge in front of this bar that the naked body of the British teenager Scarlett Keeling was discovered two weeks ago. The police initially told the family that the 15-year-old had drowned but the mother insists her daughter was raped and murdered.

Autopsy photographs released for the first time yesterday and seen by The Independent certainly suggest that Scarlett had been beaten. The images show her head, legs and upper body with extensive bruising. The teenager's genital area similarly shows red marks.

"She was a normal teenage girl ... She made friends very easily," said Scarlett's mother, Fiona MacKeown. "She was happy to talk to people she did not know well." The family, from Bideford, Devon, say the independent-minded teenager was last seen alive as she left Luis' bar in the early hours of 18 February, possibly in the company of a man.

The family claim there is one witness – a British tourist apparently too scared to talk to the police – who told a friend that he saw Scarlett being sexually assaulted behind the bar sometime afterwards. Mrs MacKeown says she also discovered her daughter's underclothes and shoes near by. She claims those locals who know anything are too scared to speak out.

The family and their Indian lawyer also argue the conclusion of the post-mortem report's stated cause of death – that Scarlett died due to "drowning in the beach, sand waters" – is too ambiguous. They say the police have now agreed to their request for a second test.

The police say they are interviewing potential witnesses who may have seen Scarlett as she left the bar and insist they have not reached a conclusion as to whether she was killed, contrary to the family's claims. "Give us a few days to let us reach a conclusion whether it was an accident or a homicide death," said Bosco Jorge, the regional police superintendent. "Most of the people, we are treating as witnesses who she met and who she might have spoken to."

Mrs MacKeown, who has eight other children, took Scarlett to India last November as part of a family trip and they had spent many weeks at the resort, which is popular with backpackers. At the time of her death, Mrs MacKeown and her boyfriend were away from Anjuna and had left the teenager in the care of a local tour guide called Julio and his aunt. She said she believed her daughter and Julio were simply friends but having read her diary following her death she now knows they were having a sexual relationship.

Mrs MacKeown says she is aware many people will be critical of her decision to leave her daughter when she travelled out of state. "We felt we had got to know these people," she said. "We had been to their house and had dinner with the aunt. She was a strict Roman Catholic."

Officials in Goa are undoubtedly concerned about the negative impact the teenager's death will have if it is proved that she was murdered. But a straw poll of tourists in Anjuna – a resort that has long had a reputation for easy access to drugs – suggested most believed there was no more danger here than anywhere else. Abbie Smith, 35, from Taunton, said some tourists failed to use common sense when they were on holiday. "If you are more of an experienced traveller you adjust to local customs," she said. "You have to be a bit more aware."

Heather, from south Wales, who was sitting with two friends outside Luis' bar, said: "It's not good. That's all you can say but shit happens on your own doorstep."

Read Andrew Buncombe's Asian (con) Fusion blog at independent.co.uk/asiablog

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea