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UK teen murder: Why did Goa cops lie?
Vicky Nanjappa in Goa | March 10, 2008 14:18 IST
Last Updated: March 11, 2008 15:13 IST
It was a sexual assault after all. Scarlette, the 15-year-old British tourist was found dead at the famous Anjuna beach in Goa [Images] on February 18 and since then the version has changed at least thrice.
First a mysterious death, then a case of drowning by death and now a case of rape and murder.
This case, which would have been dismissed as just another death, has turned out to be one of the most sensational cases in Goa and is even threatening the tourism sector for which the state is so famous.
Questions are even being raised as to whether Goa is still a safe destinations for tourists.
Scarlette's mother, Fiona Mackeown has been waging a battle ever since the death of her daughter was reported.
She, along with a lawyer, has knocked on every possible door seeking a thorough probe into the matter stating that she suspects that her daughter was raped and then murdered.
The Goa government and the police finally bowed to pressure being exerted both by the mother and the British press and ordered a second autopsy. The report has confirmed that she was raped and murdered.
The mother of the girl had said that she would not take her daughter's body back to Devon in UK unless and until a through probe is conducted and the truth is out.
The mother had suspected foul play as the first autopsy report clearly stated that the girl had bruises on her forehead and eyelids.
Worse, the police had misguided the public and the family members stating that it was a case of death by drowning while the report actually stated that the girl was sexually assaulted and murdered.
Even as the police chose to maintain that it was a case of death by drowning, the big question being raised is to why they concealed the information of the death for three days.
Superintendent of Police Goa (North) Bosco George says that based on the autopsy reports they will now probe the case.
The questioning of several suspects has already begun, he also added. They have also arrested one man and detained three others who they suspect were with Scarlette on the fateful night of February 18.
The line of Investigation: The police will now have to take in several factors into account that they had initially dismissed while probing this high profile case.
They would have to question the people Scarlette was last seen with and may even have to look into the involvement of the drug mafia as there are claims that they could have been involved.
In fact there are reports that one of the persons arrested could have been involved with the drug mafia.
The latest arrest of Samson D'souza could give the police a lead as to whether the drug mafia was involved in the case as they suspect him to be a drug dealer who could have supplied Scarlette with cocaine on that fateful night.
Scarlette was last seen at the popular Lui Cafe at the Anjuna beach. It is said that she was in the company of several men and many people claimed to have seen her for that last time, thus giving an indication that these men were not unknown to her.
Those working in the cafe say that on the fateful night she was in a total state of intoxication and was barely able to support herself. She is said to have left the cafe along with two men after the cafe closed at 4 pm.
The mystery starts after she left the cafe along with these men. Even the cafe staff say that they did not see her after that. It was only in the morning that her semi-nude body was found floating in the beach waters.
Scarlette, according to many, was into drugs and her favourite was charas (hashish) which she used to smoke in a group.
There was something mysterious about this girl, although she came across as a very warm and friendly person, some of the locals around the beach say.
She interacted frequently with the local drug dealers for charas, but never had enough money to pay them. Hence, she always ended paying up in kind, the locals also point out.
Scarlette constantly hung out with a person by the name Julio Lobo. She often went as an escort for the dolphin trips along with the tourists at the behest of Julio.
However, it is said that she was never paid for these trips. It is also said that Julio was friends with a person by the name Curlie who runs a shack on Anjuna beach by the name Curlie's.
Of late there have been some complaints regarding illegal activities at Curlie's and the Mapusa police are probing into the matter.
Now with the police intensifying their probe under pressure from all quarters, the name of Julio Lobo has cropped up.
According to several eyewitnesses, both Julio, a 25 year old tourist guide, and Scarlette shared an intimate relationship.
When Fiona left for Karnataka, she had left Scarlette in his company. Although the two had become very close over the months, there are reports of Julio accusing Scarlette of using him for sex and money. This point was even mentioned in the diary that Scarlette used to maintain.
The Goa police feel that Julio will be able to throw more light in the case. Julio, immediately after getting to know about her death, sent a message to the mother asking her to call him. When the mother called, he informed her that she was found dead on the beach. The mother accused him of killing her, but he denied it.
The role of the drug mafia: With the rape and murder angle into this case being confirmed now, there is also talk of the big drug mafia, which operates in Goa being involved in this case.
The questions being asked are, did the local drug dealers kill her as she refused to pay them, or was she threatening to reveal something that she knew about the racket? The police even suspect that another man arrested Samson D'souza could have been a drug dealer
The police say that these are just assumptions now and it is too early to comment. However we will probe into this angle too, they say.
Scarlette's mother says that there may been witnesses to her daughter's death, but they are not coming forward as they fear the local drug dealers.
Drugs are not uncommon to Goa. In fact it is a part and parcel of Goa, thanks to which it has become such a famous destination for hippies.
Most of the young girls who are hooked on to drugs do not have the money for them. It is alleged that some of the local drug dealers take advantage of this and force the girls into having sex with them.
When they refuse, force is used and many a time it results in murder.
The locals say that the case of Scarlette could have been no different now that the rape and murder theory is being applied.
Although several persons who knew Scarlette claim that she was only into charas, there is also a version which suggests that she may have graduated into cocaine.
Some of the locals on the beach claim that she was seen along with two persons buying cocaine from a local dealer.
She is alleged to have told the dealer that she did not have the money to pay for the drugs and hence, they may have sexually assaulted her which in turn may have led to her murder.
The locals around Anjuna beach, which is the one of the most popular drug destinations in Goa, say that several girls are lured by the drug dealers for sexual favours. There have been many unreported cases of girls from poor families being sexually abused or assaulted when they have protested.
A murder case relies heavily upon witnesses. If the drug mafia is really involved, then the question would be as to how many witnesses would come forward to testify?
Some of the locals say that the drug mafia is largely controlled by the Russians in Goa. They have purchased large tracts of land in Goa and the locals even allege that most of the crimes being committed by them are abetted by the cops.