Belfast Telegraph

Murdered Danielle McLaughlin raped by more than one attacker: lawyer

By Leona O'Neill

Murdered Irish backpacker Danielle McLaughlin was sexually assaulted by more than one man on the night she was killed, a lawyer for her family has claimed.

Indian solicitor Vikram Varma insisted that suspect Vikat Bhagat (23) could not have overpowered the Donegal woman on his own and urged police to look for other suspects.

Ms McLaughlin's remains were discovered in a remote area near the holiday hotspot of Canacona in Goa last Tuesday.

Bhaget appeared in court on Wednesday charged with her murder.

Her family and friends will hold a vigil tonight in her home town of Buncrana.

Now a solicitor for her family has told the Daily Mail that there are a lot of unanswered questions about the horrific killing.

"Danielle was 5ft 8ins tall and she was really strong. This fellow Bhagat, he does not look strong and muscular. I doubt he had the strength to overcome Danielle on his own," said Mr Varma. "If she was intoxicated there would have been no need for the terrible injuries she suffered."

Mr Varma, who also worked on the case of Scarlett Keeling, the 15-year-old murdered in Goa in 2008, told the Mail Online: "Bhagat's story is that he was alone with Danielle, which is doubtful.

"There has to be more than one person involved. I have no doubt. He would not have been able to overpower Danielle on his own."

Meanwhile, Danielle's friends and family will gather on Buncrana shore front at 7pm to remember in speeches, song and photographs the young woman who brought so much light to people's lives.

The vigil will mirror one that her friends Nicole Farren and Sheridan Smith held in Goa on Sunday before they set off to accompany Danielle's remains back to Ireland.

Before embarking on their arduous journey home, Nicole told a gathering of mourners that Danielle deserved justice. "We cannot even begin to comprehend what has happened to our amazing, beautiful friend, Danielle," she said.

"It is horrific and such a tragic way to have departed this world. No one deserves the pain and suffering she endured. How anyone is capable of committing such a brutal act such as this to another human being is beyond our understanding.

"Danielle lived life to the fullest and was such a vibrant soul. She brought so much light, love and laughter with her wherever she went and to whomever she met along the way."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph