A 28-year-old Irish woman, Danielle McLaughlin, was found murdered on Tuesday at an isolated spot on a beach in South Goa’s Devabag village, 80 km from Panaji.
She had come to Goa on February 23 and was last seen playing Holi with locals in Canacona on Monday.
“Her body was found in a naked state. A case has been filed under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (murder),” said deputy superintendent Sammy Tavares.
While her body was sent for a post-mortem at Goa Medical College and Hospital to determine whether she had been raped or not, a local criminal, Vikas Bhagat was arrested in connection with the case.
Hindustan Times reports that Bhagat confessed his crime and added that he raped her and later smashed her face with a beer bottle so as to hide her identity.
BBC reports that Mclaughlin had a dual Irish and British citizenship and had lived in Liverpool.
The Irish foreign ministry released a statement saying that its embassy in India was “following up on the suspected murder of an Irish woman in Goa.”
“It has been confirmed that the woman travelled to India using a British passport, so the local British consulate has the lead responsibility in terms of dealing with the Indian authorities.
“The Irish embassy is liaising closely with the British authorities and an Irish consular official is travelling from New Delhi to Goa on Wednesday,” the statement added.
McLaughlin’s mother Andrea Brannigan said the family were “finding it very difficult at this trying time”.
Danielle was the eldest of her five sisters.
“Danielle will be sadly missed by us all.”
A fund created by McLaughlin’s friend Christy Duffy to fund the repatriation of her body quickly raised more than €15,000 (about Rs 10 lakh).
“Anyone who knew her knew that she was a beautiful, kind-hearted, and funny young lady who loved life and was a loyal and devoted friend, sister and daughter,” Duffy said.
The case is a horrific reminder of Scarlett Keeling, a 15-year-old British girl whose bruised and semi-naked body was found in shallow water on a beach in 2008. In Septemeber 2016, the two men charged for the crime were cleared of rape and murder charge.
(With inputs from agencies)
(Feature image source: Facebook)