HC convicts one in Scarlett Keeling murder case

HC convicts one in Scarlett Keeling murder case

British teenager Scarlett Keeling was found murdered in Goa in 2008.

The Bombay High Court's Goa bench in an order via video conference on Wednesday ordered the conviction of one of the two accused in the case of sexual assault and culpable homicide of a British teenager Scarlett Keeling in 2008. 

Two locals, Samson D'Souza and Placido Carvalho, were accused of leaving her to die after drugging and sexually abusing her.

In its order, the court convicted Samson D’Souza while acquitting the second accused Placido Carvalho for “lack of evidence”. 

The duo was acquitted by a trial court two years ago.  

On appeal, the high court convicted D'Souza under IPC sections 328 (for administrating drugs), 354 (outraging woman's modesty), 304 (culpable homicide not amounting murder), and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) and for child abuse under section 8(2) of the Goa Children's Act.

The high court, however, upheld the acquittal of Placido Carvalho. The arguments on quantum of sentence would be heard on July 19.

Vikram Varma, advocate for UK-resident Fiona Mackeown, mother of the deceased, who was present at the hearing in Panaji, welcomed the order and said justice is done to the mother and her dead daughter. 

D’Souza’s lawyer Ryan Menezes refused to comment. 

The 15-year-old’s bruised and semi-nude body was found at Anjuna beach on February 19, 2008. 

After the body was recovered, Fiona stayed in Anjuna for a couple of weeks trying to piece together the evidence. The Goa Police, accused of trying to hush up the incident, had initially dismissed it as a case of drowning. But later, registered it as culpable homicide after Fiona pressed for a second autopsy, which found that the girl was drugged and raped. The CBI, which was handed the probe following repeated pleas by Scarlett’s family, had filed its charge sheet in 2009.

The case had grabbed international attention as British citizens form the largest number of tourists visiting Goa. 

(With inputs from PTI)