Belfast Telegraph

Murdered backpacker's Danielle McLaughlin pal pens charity song to aid justice battle

By Leona O'Neill

A childhood friend of an Irish backpacker murdered in India has penned a charity single to raise money and highlight the fight for justice.

Danielle McLaughlin was found dead in a field in Goa on March 14 after attending a beach party celebrating the Hindu spring festival of Holi.

The 28-year-old, from Buncrana in Co Donegal, had been raped and strangled.

A 24-year-old man was later arrested and confessed to the crime.

Musician Paul Caldwell has released the single The Fire Of Hope: A Song For Danielle McLaughlin to raise money to pay for a top barrister for the murder trial.

Paul, who grew up with Danielle but now lives in Canada, said he wanted to do something to help the McLaughlin family after Danielle's "bright light was tragically extinguished from this world while travelling".

"The inspiration for this song was a way of coming to terms with the sad and tragic death of a friend I've known since childhood. Not only did we go to the same school and grow up at the same time, we also lived in Liverpool at the same time and frequently bumped into each other around the city," he explained.

"The last contact I had with Danielle was when she reached out to me for advice about moving to Canada, where I'm now living.

"I told her the ins and outs and what to expect.

"I was deeply saddened and taken aback when I received a call from home telling me the terrible news.

"I thought about how she was about to go on a journey, the same one that I had, moving to Canada or elsewhere. For her plans to be cut short so tragically, it left me with a feeling of loss.

"Danielle was the happiest, most caring and loving girl I think I ever knew. She was always smiling and full of energy.

"Learning about her death inspired me to write this song, and provided me with a way of dealing with the passing of a beautiful soul."

Some of the lyrics include: 'Smile now, when the fire fades the love you gave will light the darkest road.

'There are bigger plans, we can't understand, but now you're coming home.'

Danielle's body arrived back at her mother's home for burial in Buncrana last week.

She had been escorted from Goa by two friends, Nicole and Sheridan, after another childhood friend, Christy Duffy, helped raise £35,000 to fund her repatriation.

She is buried in the grounds of St Mary's Church, Cockhill, near the family home.

All proceeds of the single will go towards the Truth For Danielle fund.

The single can be purchased at

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