Eleven years after a British teenager, Scarlett Eden Keeling, was found dead at Goa’s Anjuna beach, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday convicted one of the accused, Samson D’Souza, in the case while acquitting Placido Carvalho of all the charges, PTI reported. The arguments on quantum of sentence would be heard on July 19.
The 15-year-old’s body was found at Anjuna beach on February 2008 and the case grabbed national as well as international attention.
After examining 31 witnesses, including Scarlett’s mother Fiona Mackeown during the trial, the Goa Children’s Court Judge Vandana Tendulkar in 2016 acquitted Samson D’Souza and Placido Carvalho of all the charges, including culpable homicide not amounting to murder, sexual abuse and drugging.
Scarlett’s mother Fiona Mackeown had expressed shock at the court’s judgment and said, “I am shocked that they have been acquitted of all charges. They were not even charged with outraging the modesty of my daughter.”
She had also added, “I don’t have faith in the justice system here to give us justice, anymore. I had some hope in CBI but it is clear that either they are incompetent or corrupt and I believe they are not incompetent.”
Initially, the state police had taken charge of the investigation and said that Keeling had drowned due to her inebriated state. The probe was then handed over to the CBI after repeated requests by Scarlett’s family. The CBI finally filed a chargesheet in 2010. The second autopsy, however, indicated that Scarlett was likely killed and may have been raped too.
The investigative agency said Samson had sexually abused the girl and left her to die, while Placido had provided narcotics to her that day. After the Goa court’s ruling, the CBI challenged the judgment and appealed in 2017.