The much-awaited verdict on the scandalous murder case of 15-year-old British girl Scarlett Keeling came to an end where both accused Samson D’Souza and Placido Carvalho were acquitted by the Goan children’s court. The judge Vandana Tendulkar said: “I find them not guilty of all charges”.
The teenager, who was in India for her vacation along with her mother and friends, was found drugged, brutally raped and drowned in Goa’s Anjuna beach in 2008 while attending a Valentine’s Day beach party. Her bruised half naked body was found on the beach with around 50 injuries. The police first termed her death accidental drowning, but later started a murder investigation following pressure from her mother and international media. Following her mother’s complaint for a second autopsy, it was found that she was drugged and raped before been murdered.
At the time of the tragedy, her family was in the Karnataka but she was allowed to come back to Goa to participate in the party because she had been in the same place a year before for vacation with her family. Later, it was found that she was in a relationship with a local guy but her mother denied this, saying he was not her boyfriend.
The second post mortem report found high amount of LSD and cocaine in her body. Both of the accused denied the charges of culpable homicide and sexual assault. The case created many headlines following accusations of corrupted police’s negligence, ill parenting, political intervention, legal delays etc. Police alleged the accused plied her with drinks and drugs before assaulting her and later left her on the beach, following which she was drowned.
Her mother Fioona MacKeown said the verdict has devastated her and said she would continue the legal battle. Goa’s Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said the verdict is heartbreaking and the verdict should be challenged in a higher court.