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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
News
i100
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: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable