Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Woman retells daughter's death call

The mother of murdered British teenager Scarlett Keeling has told a court how she learned her daughter was dead in a phone call from the girl's boyfriend.

Fiona MacKeown gave evidence for the first time in an Indian Children's Court where two men are accused of the manslaughter and rape of 15-year-old Scarlett.

Mrs MacKeown said she last saw Scarlett alive when she left her alone at Anjuna beach in the tourist state of Goa for a trip to the southern state of Karnataka with her other children.

Early on February 18, 2008, she got a text message from Scarlett's Indian boyfriend Julio Lobo. She said: "I called him immediately to speak to Scarlett, but Julio said I couldn't speak to her. I asked him why - if she was in an accident or in hospital - but he was very upset and couldn't speak to me."

Ms MacKeown said she hung up, but the boyfriend rang back. "He told me that Scarlett had been found murdered on the beach and I needed to get back to Anjuna immediately."

Ms MacKeown, from Bideford, Devon, told the court in Goa how she later identified her daughter's body, first at a police station in Anjuna and later at a mortuary. She repeated her claims there was a cover-up by police, saying she refused to believe the teenager had drowned.

She said: "The police told me that she had drowned while swimming, but I said I didn't believe it. She's a very strong swimmer."

Finding her daughter's shorts, sandals and underwear behind some shacks on the beach, Ms MacKeown added that she told the Foreign Office, who asked her to hand them over to the police as evidence.

She later wrote letters to various authorities requesting for another look at the body as well as a second post-mortem examination as she found many discrepancies in the behaviour of the police.

Samson D'Souza, 30, and Placido Carvalho, 42, deny culpable homicide, sexual assault, outraging modesty and destroying evidence. They were arrested a month after Scarlett's death and are free on bail.


From Belfast Telegraph