Belfast Telegraph

Man goes on trial in India accused of Irish backpacker's Goa murder

By Staff Reporter

The trial of a man accused of raping and murdering an Irish woman in Goa began yesterday.

Danielle McLaughlin (28), from Buncrana, Co Donegal, was killed during a holiday in the Indian state in March 2017.

Her body was discovered in an isolated field in a remote area near the holiday hot spot of Canacona.

A post-mortem examination found the cause of her death was brain damage and strangulation.

Local man Vikat Bhagat was arrested a short time after the murder and CCTV footage allegedly showing him and Ms McLaughlin together is a key piece of evidence in the trial.

The man who discovered Ms McLaughlin's body on 14 March 2017 was questioned in court yesterday.

"I was going to my field when I saw her body. It was naked," Prashant Komarpant said.

"Her face was smashed and covered in blood," he added.

The prosecution presented photographs of the crime spot to the court which showed the presence of the first witness.

Defence lawyers raised questions about the clarity of the photos and discrepancies in the appearance of the witness but Prashant confirmed to the court that he was in the photos.

"It is me. I can tell you by my attire and the cap I was wearing", he told the court.

The case will resume on April 13.

Earlier this week Ms McLaughlin's family told RTE that they will never have closure regardless of what happens in the court case.

But her mother Andrea said the family is happy with the Indian legal system where they have the right to legal representation in the murder trial.

She said: "I would like to know what really happened."

Andrea added that she would love "whoever did this to give empathy and reach out to tell me why".

She said the grief never ends and that there was a constant pain in her heart that aches with the loss of her daughter.

Belfast Telegraph

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