Belfast Telegraph

Fund to bring tragic Danielle McLaughlin's body home from Goa hits £37k

By Victoria Leonard

The body of Buncrana woman Danielle McLaughlin is expected to arrive back in Ireland early next week after a repatriation fund raised more than €36,000 in just two days.

Danielle (28) was found dead in Goa on Tuesday, and police say that a man, whose name has been reported as Vikat Bhagat (24) has confessed to her rape and murder.

Bhagat was captured on CCTV walking with Danielle the day before her death.

A police officer told the Associated Press that Danielle had travelled to Goa with a female friend.

The pair were staying in a beach hut before attending the Hindu spring festival of Holi in a nearby village on Monday night.

Danielle's body was discovered in a field the next day, less than 2km from the popular beach of Palolem in south Goa.

Bhagat appeared in court on rape and murder charges on Wednesday.

News of her death was greeted with shock in the County Donegal community, and local man Christy Duffy launched a GoFundMe campaign to help with her repatriation and funeral expenses.

Donations flooded in and rapidly exceeded the initial €10,000 target, now sitting at €36,572 after just two days.

Posting on the fundraising page, Mr Duffy said that everyone who knew Danielle was "completely devastated," and described her as a "beautiful and kind-hearted, funny young lady who loved life and was a loyal and devoted friend, sister and daughter".

"This fund is to assist the repatriation and funeral expenses for our friend Danielle who was tragically taken from us all too soon this week," he stated.

"At the moment the family have the Irish embassy, the British embassy, the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust and many close friends working hard on the arrangements to take her home.

"They say the brightest stars burn the quickest and no other analogy could describe Danielle's life better.

"On behalf of her family thanks in advance for the donations and keep on smiling as Danielle would have wanted."

Colin Bell of the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust told the Belfast Telegraph that Danielle's body would "hopefully be brought to Mumbai" today and could be home "early next week".

"It's a real tragedy for the family, I believe Danielle had only been away a short time" he said.

"Her family are absolutely devastated. A couple of Danielle's friends have flown out to be with her, which will be a relief for her family as they will know she isn't alone."

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