British woman killed at Dal Lake,Dutch held

'On Thursday,Richard checked in and I provided him a room adjacent to Sara's.'

Written by Mir Ehsan | Srinagar | Published:April 6, 2013 10:20 pm

A Dutch man was arrested Saturday in Kashmir for the murder of a British tourist,who was found dead in a houseboat on the Dal Lake in Srinagar. Police suspect Sara Elizabeth,24,was also raped.

Devit Richard,43,was arrested near Qazigund on the Srinagar-Jammu highway while he was trying to flee Kashmir,police said. Sources said he had admitted to the crime and said he was under the influence of drugs when he killed Elizabeth.

The Briton,who was from Manchester,had been staying in the New Beauty Dulex houseboat for the past two months,its owner Abdul Rehman Shoda said.

“I had given her a special room. On Thursday,Richard checked in and I provided him a room adjacent to Sara’s,” he added. Sara had become friends with the Shodas,who stay in another houseboat nearby,and would often dine with them. “Last night after having dinner with my family,she retired to her room. Later,I went to give her a hot water bottle and advised her to lock her room. That was the last time I saw her alive,” Shoda said.

He also gave a water bottle to Richard. “I advised him too to lock the door and left,” he said.

Sometime past 3 am,the Shodas said,they were woken up by noise from the tourist houseboat. “I rushed to the houseboat. The shikara anchored near it was missing. I saw the door of Richard’s room open… I then rushed to Sara’s room and was surprised to see the door open. She was lying on the bed,drenched in blood. There was a wound on the right side of her chest,” Shoda said.

All of Richard’s belongings,except his passport,were in the room. Shoda said he called him on his cellphone but didn’t get a response. He then called the police.

As the police were able to get the number of the vehicle Richard had hired,they traced him to near Qazigund. He was brought to Srinagar and questioned.

Police recovered a knife from near Elizabeth’s body and believe it was used to kill her. A post-mortem has been conducted. “Only after the report comes will we be able to tell what actually happened inside the houseboat,” Nehru Park Sub Divisional Police Officer Ghulam Jeelani said.

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