Eight years after a British teenager, Scarlett Eden Keeling, was found dead at the Anjuna beach in Goa, a children’s court acquitted the two accused on Friday.
Goa Children’s Court Judge Vandana Tendulkar acquitted Samson D’Souza and Placido Carvalho of all the charges, including culpable homicide not amounting to murder, sexual abuse and drugging.
The 15-year-old’s body was found at Anjuna beach on February 19, 2008. The police first claimed it was a drowning case, but later registered a case of culpable homicide.
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The probe was handed over to the CBI, which filed its chargesheet in 2010. The investigating agency said Samson had sexually abused the girl and left her to die, while Placido had provided narcotics to her that day.
“I am shocked that they have been acquitted of all charges. They were not even charged with outraging the modesty of my daughter,” said Scarlett’s mother, Fiona Mackeown, who was present in court today.
“The medical evidence confirms that my daughter was grievously assaulted, raped and murdered, after some criminals gave her alcohol and cocaine. Right from the beginning, I knew the police did not want to prosecute the criminals,” she said.
“It is clear that they (investigating agencies) are either incompetent or corrupt. I don’t believe they are incompetent. And all I can say is that if any international tourist comes to Goa and gets murdered, they have no hope for justice in this system,” she said.
On whether she would challenge the order, she said: “I don’t want to give up the fight. But I don’t have the financial strength or resources to wait for another eight years.”
The prosecution examined 31 witnesses, including Fiona, during the trial.
Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar termed the judgment as “unfortunate”, but said it would not hamper the image of the coastal state. “I have just heard about the verdict, I have not gone through the entire judgment. I feel the outcome of the verdict is heartbreaking, it is very unfortunate,” he said.