Two men accused of raping and killing British teenager, Scarlett Keeling eight years ago in Goa have been acquitted on all charges by an Indian Court on Friday. Samson D’Souza and Placido Carvalho were found not guilty of culpable homicide and sexual assault on a Goa beach over the 2008 death. According to the sources, Scarlett’s mother, Fiona MacKeown, told the Guardian she was devastated by Friday’s verdict that lasted less than a minute, which has come after years of delays, including a change of prosecutor. Read the complete report here.
Immediately upon hearing the verdict, a visible stunned Ms MacKeown said: “That’s it. Not guilty. That was so quick. I am devastated. We’ve been waiting for all this time,” she said. “I thought they must be found guilty on at least some of the charges. I’m shocked.”
The accused men remained impassive throughout, with D’sousa clasping his hands in prayer as the verdict was announced. Speaking after the hearing, Fiona MacKeown said: “The medical evidence confirms that my daughter was grievously assaulted, raped and murdered after some criminals gave her alcohol and cocaine. Right from the beginning, I knew that the local police did not want to prosecute the killers, and it took a huge effort from me to even get the Police to register a complaint.” Adding to that she also said that if International tourist comes to Goa and are murdered, they have no hope for justice in the system because the criminal justice system protects the criminal and not the tourist.
“I don’t have the financial resources or the strength to wait for another eight years in appeal.” Ms. MacKeown vowed to appeal the decision, although authority to do so rests with Indian federal prosecutors. The men were also cleared of causing injury or death through the supply of drugs and of destroying evidence.
Scarlett’s bruised and half-naked body was found on the popular Anjuna beach in North Goa in February 2008. The 15-year-old had been at a Valentine’s Day beach party while the other family members had gone traveling.
Police had initially declared her death as accident drowning, but MacKeown pushed for a second autopsy. A postmortem examination showed there was ecstasy, cocaine, and LSD in the teenager’s body. It also showed 50 separate cuts and bruises, evidence of sexual assault, and too little water in her lungs for a drowning.
According to the sources, reasons for the judgment are yet to be released.