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Tributes to Goa murder victim Danielle McLaughlin who had 'most beautiful soul'

'Absolute horror of killing stuns Buncrana community'

By Jonny Bell

A Donegal woman found dead on a beach in Goa has been described as having the "most beautiful soul" with reports of her murder having stunned the Buncrana community she grew up in.

Danielle McLaughlin (28) from Buncrana was on a backpacking holiday around the world. She had been living and working in Liverpool having attended the city's John Moores University before setting off in February.

The Times of India reported she was discovered in the popular tourist Canacona area in the south of the Indian state.

It is believed Ms McLaughlin arrived in the region on Sunday and attended a party on Palolem beach on Monday night before her body was found near Deobag Beach early on Tuesday morning.

Her body was unclothed and she had marks on her head and face, it has been reported.

Six people have been questioned by police in relation to the killing and one man charged and due to be brought before court on Wednesday.

Local police said a post-mortem examination is to be carried out which will determine if sexual assault charges are put to the suspect.

Supt Sammy Tavares told reporters that they had arrested a suspect: "He has confessed to raping the victim and later killing her in order to hide his identity."

Residents of the community where Ms McLaughlin’s body was found are planning a vigil in her memory.

Divyam Sugeet, a local businessman said: “I was at the crime scene, it was really horrible. The whole community is shaken up.”

A close friend set up a GoFundMe page to help assist with the repatriation and funeral expenses.

"Anyone who knew her, knew that she was a beautiful and kind-hearted, funny young lady who loved life," said the friend who set up the fund.

"She 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...keep on smiling, as Danielle would have wanted."

Within an hour over 6,000 euro was raised.

Ms McLaughlin was described as popular with her death causing shock in Buncrana.

Ahead of setting off on her adventures, alongside a picture of the Crana River in Buncrana she posted on Facebook: "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..."

Friends paid tribute to her on Facebook.

"Love you Danielle, you had the most beautiful soul," said one friend.

A school friend described her as a "bubbly girl" who was always smiling and laughing. "Can't believe what had happened," she said, "thinking of your family at this time."

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...

Posted by Danielle Mc Laughlin on Tuesday, February 21, 2017

It is understood she grew up with her grandparents and had returned to Buncrana last year when her grandfather died. 

Local parish priest Fr John Walsh said the woman's mother had suffered a number of bereavements.

"The absolute horror of this girl's murder has stunned the community," he said.

"We feel for her mother in particular and her siblings."

Donegal councillor Rena Donaghey added: "The whole community and the town of Buncrana is in deep shock today.  Everyone is very saddened by the news.

"She was a lovely young woman who has come to a very sad end.

"She was very popular and very liked in the community.  She headed off on a backpacking holiday in February to do some travelling.

"On behalf of the community, I would like to offer sympathy and condolences. I hope God will give the family strength at this tragic time to help them through the weeks and months ahead," the Fianna Fail councillor told The Irish Independent.

The Pumphouse pub in Liverpool where Danielle worked also paid tribute.

“Very sad to hear we have lost one of our old team members Danielle McLaughlin in Goa this week. She was only 28. Goodbye Danielle. Deepest condolences to her family in Ireland," it said on Facebook.

Very sad to hear we have lost one of our old team members Danielle McLaughlin in Goa this week. She was only 28. Goodbye Danielle. Deepest condolences to her family in Ireland.

Posted by Pumphouse Albert Dock on Wednesday, March 15, 2017

In a statement Liverpool John Moores University said: "The university is shocked and saddened to hear of the death of one of our former students, Danielle McLaughlin.

"We send our sincere condolences to her family and friends from all at LJMU."

A spokesman would not say what Miss McLaughlin studied at the university or when she left.

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin had confirmed it was talking to its embassy in India about the reports.

"Ireland's Embassy in New Delhi is in contact with Indian authorities in relation to reports of an incident involving an Irish citizen," a spokesman said.

"The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade stands ready to provide consular assistance."

The Department later said it was "following up on the suspected murder of an Irish woman in Goa" who had been "using a British passport".

"It has been confirmed that the woman travelled to India using a British passport, so the local British consulate have the lead responsibility in terms of dealings with the Indian authorities," the spokesman added.

"The Irish Embassy is liaising closely with the British authorities and an Irish consular official is travelling from New Delhi to Goa today."

In 2008, British teenager Scarlett Keeling was found dead on Goa's popular Anjuna beach.

The 15-year-old drowned after allegedly being plied with drugs.

Two men, Samson D'Souza and Placido Carvalho, were cleared of raping and killing her by an Indian court last year.

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