THE monster responsible for the death of teenager Scarlett Keeling in 2008 has finally been convicted after her family’s 11 years of hell.
The 15-year-old backbacker was raped and left for dead on a beach on Goa after a Valentine’s Day party while on a family holiday.
Beach shack worker Samson D’Souza, 39, who had previously been cleared of culpable homicide and grievous sexual assault, was convicted at Bombay High Court today.
Scarlett’s semi-naked body was found after a Valentine’s Day party at Anjuna Beach.
The teen, whose family had travelled along the coast without her, suffered 50 separate injuries.
Police in Goa initially concluded her death was accidental but, after a campaign by her family, a second post-mortem examination in March 2008 revealed she had been drugged and raped before drowning in seawater.
The teenager was on a six-month family holiday in India in 2008 with her family – which was made up of her mother, her mother’s boyfriend and seven siblings and half-siblings.
D’Souza and Carvalho, who both worked at Luís beach shack, were accused of plying Scarlett with drugs before attacking her.
D’Souza was found guilty of “culpable homicide not amounting to murder”, as well as assault, destruction of evidence and providing narcotics to Scarlett, among other charges, the Keelings’ lawyer, Vikram Varma, told the BBC.
While Plácido Carvalho, who had also been cleared in 2016, was acquitted.
The court was hearing an appeal filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2017 against the acquittal of the two men.
D’Souza will be sentenced on Friday.
The timeline of Scarlett's death
- February 2008: Scarlett found dead on Anjuna beach, half naked and covered in 50 injuries
- March 2008: Barman Samson D’Souza, 36, and Placido Carvalho, 47, an alleged drug dealer, were arrested on suspicion of plying her with drugs, raping her and leaving her unconscious on the beach where she drowned
- March 2010: Charges were filed against both man
- September 2016: A children’s court clears both suspects
- February 2017: India’s Central Bureau of Investigation decides to appeal D’Souza and Carvalho’s acquittal
- February 2018: Scarlett’s heartbroken mum called for Indian detectives to finally solve the mystery of her death once and for all
- July 2019: D’Souza has finally been convicted for the attack
Scarlett’s mother, Fiona MacKeown, told the BBC she was “delighted” by the verdict but was sorry it had taken so long for justice to be obtained for her daughter.
Charges were filed against both man in March 2010.
But after eight years of investigation and court hearings, on September last year a children’s court cleared both suspects.
Ms MacKeown said the Indian authorities had put her family “through hell” and her heart went out to all the other families fighting for justice for loved ones who had been murdered abroad.
She added she had been worried there would not be enough evidence for a conviction.
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She said: “I think he murdered her but culpable homicide is very close.
“I hope that we can all put this behind us now and get on with our lives.”
In February 2018, Scarlett’s heartbroken mum had called for Indian detectives to finally solve the mystery of her death once and for all.
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