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Mum's agony after murder of Donegal girl Danielle McLaughlin in Goa

By Donna Deeney

The mother of the Buncrana woman murdered in the Goa region of India has been left "completely heartbroken" at the death of her daughter.

Danielle McLaughlin (28) was the eldest daughter in a family of four. Her body was discovered on a beach in the coastal resort of Canacona, where she was on holiday.

Local media reported the former Liverpool John Moores University student was discovered unclothed and she had marks on her head and face.

Deputy superintendent Sammy Tavares told local reporters that a man named Vikas Bhagat had been arrested.

Tavares said that Bhagat had confessed to raping the victim and killing her.

In a written statement issued by a close friend on behalf of the family in Co Donegal, Danielle's mum Andrea Brannigan said: "The family would like to express our thanks to all who have got in touch since receiving this awful news. As you can expect we are finding it very difficult at this trying time. We want to thank the Irish and British consulates, along with Colin from the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, and many friends who have assisted at this time. Danielle will be sadly missed by us all."

Suresh Velip, head constable with the Goa Police, said Ms McLaughlin's body was found in a remote area near Deobagh Beach on Tuesday morning.

Ms McLaughlin was described as "beautiful, kind, funny and devoted" by her friends who have already set up a fundraising page to help her family cover the costs of bringing her back to Buncrana. In less than three hours, donations had hit the €10,000 target.

Christy Duffy, who set the page up, paid tribute to his closest friend by saying: "There is nothing I need to say about Danielle as anyone who knew her, knew she was a beautiful and kind hearted, funny young lady who loved life and was a loyal and devoted friend, sister and daughter.

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

Preparations to have Danielle's remains brought home are understood to be progressing well with the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust handling practicalities.

Ms McLaughlin was travelling with a British passport and the British Consul is working closely with the Indian authorities along with the Irish Consul.

Fr Francis Bradley spent time comforting her family.

He said: "Danielle's mother Andrea is completely heartbroken as you would imagine and her grief is being compounded by the horrendous circumstance of her death and the fact that Danielle is so far away.

"This is the news no parent is ever really prepared for but the whole family are with her.

"We spent time in prayer and just talking and during the days to come we as a community will do whatever we can to support the family.

"Danielle was a girl that was full of life but she had a really strong sense of family and of where she belonged and everyone is so shocked at this tragedy."

While Danielle had been living and working in Liverpool, she kept in close contact with her family and friends in Buncrana.

Poignantly the last post she made on her Facebook page was to say she was travelling to Goa, made after a recent visit to her home town and just before she embarked on her tragic trip to India.

She wrote: "Thank you to all my friends and family for making home so special and always looking after me.

"I am very grateful and the luckiest person I know... Off on another adventure..."

Family friend and Sinn Fein TD, Padraig MacLoughlin, added: "Andrea is in so much shock right now but she is aware of the fundraising page set up by Danielle's friends and she appreciates what people are doing for her and the family.

"The whole town is shocked by the terrible tragedy."

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