Scarlett Keeling's mother in hiding after warnings
Monday 24 March 2008
The mother of the murdered British teenager Scarlett Keeling said last night that she had gone into hiding amid fears for her safety. Fiona MacKeown, 43, said she had moved to "an undisclosed location" on the advice of her lawyer and after warnings from local people.
Scarlett's semi-naked body was found on 19 February on Goa's Anjuna beach, where she had been on holiday. She had been raped before she was killed.
Mrs MacKeown said: "I'm keeping a low profile. I've been warned by the locals to get out. It's very easy for people to get at you around here. We've heard that some people aren't very happy with us. The beach is deserted, half of the shacks have been closed. A lot of people are losing business."
She also feared that her accusations against top local officials, including a state minister, could put her in harm's way.
A pathologist's report released yesterday said 15-year-old Scarlett, from Bideford, north Devon, had been killed by drowning after her head was held under water for between five and 10 minutes.
Mrs MacKeown's lawyer, Vikram Varma, said the report concluded Scarlett died of "homicidal drowning" and not of a drug or alcohol overdose. Her death was "consistent with a picture of homicidal drowning in shallow waters", the report concluded.
Mrs MacKeown said the findings added weight to her allegations that links between police officials, politicians and the drugs "mafia" were continuing to hamper a proper investigation into her daughter's death. She plan-ned to ask Goa High Court to force local police to hand over the case to federal agents.
Local police initially said Scarlett's death was an accidental drowning. But a murder investigation was launched after a second post-mortem examination – carried out following pressure from Mrs MacKeown – showed she had been attacked.
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