A Dutch man was arrested on Saturday in Kashmir for the murder of 24-year-old British tourist Sarah Elizabeth,who was found dead in a houseboat on the Dal Lake in Srinagar. Police are looking into possible sexual assault,though there is no indication of it so far.
Sources said there were 45 knife wounds on Elizabeths body.
Devit Richard,43,was arrested near Qazigund on the Srinagar-Jammu highway while trying to flee Kashmir,the police said. Sources said he had admitted to the crime and claimed he was under the influence of drugs when he killed Elizabeth.
The Briton,who was from Manchester,had been staying in the New Beauty Deluxe houseboat for 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 Saras, he told the police.
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 Richards room open… I then rushed to Saras room and was surprised to see the door open too. She was lying on the bed,drenched in blood. There was a wound on the right side of her chest, Shoda said.
All of Richards belongings,except his passport,were in the room. Shoda said he called him up on his cellphone but didnt 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.
He didnt have any motive for the crime. He told us he had drugs,went to Elizabeths room,smashed the door and stabbed her with his mountaineering knife, a police officer told The Sunday Express.
The police recovered a knife from near Elizabeths body and believe it was this that 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, Nehru Park Sub Divisional Police Officer Ghulam Jeelani said.