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Man convicted of murder of British teenager Scarlett Keeling in Goa

The High Court in Goa convicted Samson D’Souza over the attack on the 15-year-old in 2008.

Scarlett Keeling (PA)
Scarlett Keeling (PA)

An Indian appeal court has overturned the acquittal of one of two suspects in the rape and murder of a teenage British girl whose body was found on a beach in the resort city of Goa in 2008.

The High Court in Goa convicted Samson D’Souza for the attack on 15-year-old Scarlett Keeling.

Prosecutors said the court upheld the acquittal of another suspect accused of leaving Scarlett to die on the beach after drugging and sexually abusing her.

Police originally said Scarlett had drowned after taking drugs but changed their story after her mother complained. A second post-mortem concluded she had been raped and murdered.

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Scarlett Keeling’s mother Fiona MacKeown (Dielle D’Souza/PA)

The case caused outrage among millions of Indian and foreign tourists who throng Goa’s beaches.

Vikram Varma, a lawyer representing Scarlett’s mother Fiona MacKeown, said the court’s decision would provide some relief for her.

“Because of this incident, this loss has weighed heavy on her heart for the last 11 years, and that weight today must have been lifted substantially. It would be finally lifted when she hears the sentence,” Mr Varma told reporters in Panaji, the capital of Goa state.

A trial court acquitted both in 2016, and the High Court took up the case in 2017.

The court will sentence D’Souza on Friday. He faces up to life in prison.

Under Indian laws, both the accused and prosecutors can appeal a trial court’s verdict to the High Court and the Supreme Court.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “Scarlett’s family are in our thoughts today. Our consular staff assisted them following her death, and are ready to provide further support as required.”

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