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UK tourist killed in Kashmir was set to travel to Lanka

April 09, 2013 16:37 IST

British tourist Sarah Groves, who was stabbed to death on a houseboat in Jammu and Kashmir allegedly by a Dutch national, was set to tour Sri Lanka but had altered her plans to visit the Valley, her parents said.

The 24-year-old gym instructor's father Victor Groves told a press conference in Guernsey that the family was concerned about the change in plan.

"She went north instead. We tried so hard to stop her going," he said at her hometown in the Channel Islands on Monday.

Kashmir police have arrested a Dutch national, Richard de Wit, who has reportedly confessed to killing Groves as a result of mental instability.

Her family said that Sarah's decision to travel north was a result of her meeting a man called Samir from Kashmir, whose family she subsequently stayed with.

Victor said family's concerns were not related to "the guy himself' but they had been worried about her interrupting her original travel plans.

"In a completely different way, it's devastating for them as well. It happened in their house. Most of the people there saw the devastation that was left. I'm sure it's very tough," he said, adding that he had spoken to Samir "about five times a day" since Sarah's death.

He was informed of his daughter's death during a telephone call in the early hours of Saturday.

"Your daughter is dead. She has been murdered," he was told, following which he informed Guernsey Police, who confirmed the news two hours later.

At the press conference, also attended by Sarah's brothers, Tom and Ben, and half-brother Simon, her father thanked people who had left messages on social media sites in praise of her.

"That's what's getting us through. All the family thanks all of them very, very sincerely for making the effort and expressing their views," Victor said.

Her brother Tom, who has also set up a 'Justice for Sarah' campaign web-page, was critical of the behaviour of some national newspapers in the UK over their attempts to obtain information from the family and only local Guernsey media were invited to the press conference.

"We hope that the right process will be followed and that justice can be done and seen to be done," he said.

Sarah, a qualified fitness instructor, left for India in July last year and planned to travel through Asia before heading to New Zealand.

Her friends in the Channel Islands have described her as a "beautiful person".

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