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?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine