Two face Goa court over Scarlett Keeling murder

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The Independent Online

Two men went on trial in Goa today charged with the killing of British teenager Scarlett Keeling.

The 15-year-old, from Bideford, Devon, was on a six-month holiday to India with her family when her semi-naked body was found on the beach in north Goa in February 2008.

Post-mortem examinations revealed the teenager, who was intoxicated with drugs and alcohol at the time of her death, was attacked and raped, and may have drowned.

Scarlett's mother Fiona MacKeown fought a long campaign for a full investigation into her daughter's death after police initially suggested she had drowned accidentally.

Today, Samson D'Souza, 30, and Placido Carvalho, 42, were in court to face charges of culpable homicide, sexual assault, outraging modesty and destroying evidence. Both are on bail.

The trial in Panaji could go on until the end of the year, S R Rivonkar, counsel to the Central Bureau of Investigation, told reporters.

He said statements from 72 witnesses would be heard.

B P Deshpande, president of the court, heard that the first witnesses include 10 people who will provide information on how Scarlett's body was discovered on Goa's Anjuna beach.

He scheduled the examination of two witnesses each on April 5, 7, 9, 12 and 16.

D'Souza was dressed in a blue checked shirt and jeans and Carvalho was in a white shirt and jeans for the hearing.

Outside the court hall, Mr Rivonkar said he believed the trial could be completed by the "end of the year".

Ms MacKeown left her daughter in Goa while she went on a trip to the neighbouring state of Karnataka, and returned to find out Scarlett had been killed.

Local police said the teenager had drowned accidentally, but under pressure from her mother a second post mortem examination was carried out which showed she had been violently attacked.

Later tests revealed that Scarlett had ecstasy, cocaine and LSD in her system on the night she died, and suggested she was killed by having her face held down in water.

D'Souza and Carvalho were arrested in March 2008, the month after she died, along with a third man who was questioned over supplying drugs.

When Scarlett's body was flown back to England, her mother discovered that her stomach, kidneys and uterus were missing.

Her kidney and uterus were later sent to the UK for tests.

Since her daughter's death, Ms MacKeown has faced allegations of neglect because she left Scarlett alone.

The police officer who first investigated the death, Nerlon Albuquerque, was sacked, and the doctor who carried out the first post mortem examination was suspended.