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Home > India > News > PTI

Scarlett case: Forensic expert suspended for 'mistake'

March 26, 2008 12:51 IST

The forensic expert who conducted the first autopsy on slain British girl Scarlett Keeling has been suspended, with the Goa [Images] government on Wednesday claiming to have found prima facie 'mistake' on the expert's part.

Dr Silvano Sapeco, a forensic expert in the state-owned Goa Medical College and hospital, was suspended on Monday from the Scarlett murder case investigation. The state government felt there was a mistake on his part, Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane told PTI this morning, refusing to elaborate on the 'mistake'.

The health minister said that the state government's parallel inquiry in the Scarlett episode recommended the suspension. This is the second suspension in the Scarlett rape and murder case, which hit the headlines after the teenager's mother cried foul.

Police sub-inspector Nerlon Albuquerque, officer in-charge of Anjuna police station, was the first one to face the axe. He was suspended for laxity in investigating the case.

Scarlett's mother, Fiona Mackeown, had alleged that the PSI tried to cover up the case. Scarlett's bruised corpse was found on Goa's popular Anjuna beachfront on February 18.

Rane said the state government's inquiry into the entire episode is still on. "We are examining the entire case from various angles and prima facie there was a mistake on Sapeco's part," the minister said.

Sapeco conducted the first autopsy on Scarlett's body but did not express the possibility of homicidal drowning in his findings.

The first autopsy sparked off the entire controversy with Fiona demanding a second detailed autopsy on her daughter's body. The second autopsy conducted by a forensic experts team sans Sapeco recommended that the death be investigated as a murder.

After the second autopsy findings were revealed, Sapeco went to the press with a statement that "he had verbally expressed the possibility of homicidal drowning in this case to the police after the first autopsy".

The police claim to have cracked the case after arresting two locals, barman Samson D Souza and alleged drug dealer Placido Carvalho. Just as the state Inspector General of Police Kishan Kumar announced that the investigations in the case was over, Sapeco filed a final opinion contradicting the police line of investigation.

This reportedly perturbed the state government, propelling action against the forensic expert. The police had also recommended that Sapeco be suspended, as he was hampering the investigation in the entire episode, a source close to the Goa chief minister said.

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