Monday 24 July 2017

Hundreds gather at Goa vigil for murder victim as CCTV shows Danielle's final moments and police search for her phone

  • CCTV footage shows victim's last moments
  • Post-mortem confirms rape and strangulation
  • Expats and locals gather at scene
  • Investigation to focus on finding phone
  • Nail marks indicate Danielle (28) fought for her life
  • One man arrested in relation to killing

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The focus of Indian police investigating the murder of an Irish backpacker has turned to tracing her mobile phone according to reports.

Danielle McLaughlin, a Buncrana native was killed in Goa.

The 28-year-old's remains were discovered at an isolated spot near Canacona at around 7.30am on Tuesday by a local farmer.

The victim had injuries to her head and body.

One man Vikat Bhagat (23) has been arrested in connection with the murder and police say he has confessed to her killing.

The suspect is expected to face murder and rape charges after a post mortem showed that Ms McLaughlin has been sexually assaulted before she was killed.

Vikat Bhagat
Vikat Bhagat

Suresh Velip, head constable at Goa Police, said a man remained in custody after being arrested on suspicion of murder.

Another police chief said on Thursday that a court had granted police permission to hold Bhagat for seven days to complete their investigation.

A charge sheet will then be submitted, the Guardian reports.

CCTV footage of what police believe was her last moments show Ms McLauglin walking along a street with Mr Bhagat, police told the BBC.

Locals and expats gather for vigil after death of Danielle McLaughlin
Locals and expats gather for vigil after death of Danielle McLaughlin

Local journalist Abel Barretto said that following the killing he appealed on an expat Facebook page for friends of Ms McLaughlin to come forward and help with the investigation.

As a result of this one person travelled to the scene and identified her remains.

Locals and expats gather for vigil after death of Danielle McLaughlin
Locals and expats gather for vigil after death of Danielle McLaughlin

However he said his attempts were met with some criticism: "A few Facebook tigers started commenting on the post itself saying that the poster is inhuman etc.

"Then I had posted that they shouldn't try to be heroes on the Facebook be real life heroes.

Locals and expats gather for vigil after death of Danielle McLaughlin
Locals and expats gather for vigil after death of Danielle McLaughlin

"So the same day about 10 foreigners came to the police station and staged a peaceful demonstration.

"As a follow up of this, a vigil was arranged at the crime scene on Wednesday 5.30pm.

Locals and expats gather for vigil after death of Danielle McLaughlin
Locals and expats gather for vigil after death of Danielle McLaughlin

"A lot of speakers expressed grief and some looked terrified.

"The last song they sang was 'No woman, No cry' by Bob Marley."

Post-mortem

Locals and expats gather for vigil after death of Danielle McLaughlin
Locals and expats gather for vigil after death of Danielle McLaughlin
Danielle McLaughlin
Danielle McLaughlin
Backpacker Danielle McLaughlin who was murdered in Goa
Police at the scene in Canacona where Danielle’s body was found. Photo: RTÉ
Danielle Mc Laughlin
Tragic murder victim Danielle McLaughlin. Photo: PA
A Hindu temple in Goa, India, where Danielle McLaughlin was on a backpacking adventure.

A post-mortem carried out on the body of the murdered Irish backpacker confirmed she was sexually assaulted before being strangled.

The Herald Goa is reporting that a post-mortem examination was carried out today on Ms McLaughlin's body by a two-member panel of forensic doctors.

A report has now been submitted to Canacona police.

According to the newspaper the examination showed evidence of sexual assault and "compression of neck". Strangulation has been given as a cause of death.

The newspaper is also reporting that the victim's remains will be handed over to the consulate and her family tomorrow.

Vigil

Expats, backpackers and locals gathered at the scene of the brutal murder of an Irish woman in India yesterday evening for a solemn ceremony.

The crowd of around 100 people paid tribute to murdered Donegal woman Danielle McLaughlin in the remote field in Devbagh, Canacona.

The ceremony, which involved some local traditions, took place at 5.30pm (local time) and concluded with a chilling rendition of Bob Marley's 'No Woman No Cry'.

Watch: VIDEO: Buncrana locals react to murder of Irish Woman in Goa

Read more: Nail injuries suggest Danielle fought bravely against her killer in her final moments

Discovery

Local media reported the former Liverpool John Moores University student was discovered unclothed and she had marks on her head and face.

It is believed that she bravely tried to fight off her attacker, as a police report said there were nail injuries on the body of the suspect.

A man has been arrested and a post-mortem examination will determine if sexual assault charges are to be brought.

Andrea Brannigan, the victim's mother, said: "The family would like to express our thanks to all who have got in touch since receiving this awful news.

"As you can expect we are finding it very difficult at this trying time.

"We want to thank the Irish and British consulates, along with Colin from the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, and many friends who have assisted at this time.

"Danielle will be sadly missed by us all."

Danielle was the eldest of her five daughters.

Read more: 'The brightest stars burn the quickest' - Friends of Irish woman killed in India pay tribute

Ms McLaughlin grew up in Buncrana, Co Donegal, and moved to the UK where she studied and worked in Liverpool before travelling for a time in Australia.

She had returned to her home town before setting off to India on a backpacking adventure last month.

On her own Facebook page, dated February 22, Ms McLaughlin posted: "Thank you to all my friends and family for making home so special and always looking after me. I am very grateful and the luckiest person I know...Off on another adventure..."

Dozens of people posted tributes on the social media website.

One said: "Sleep peacefully Danielle, my thoughts are with your family and loved ones. The horrors you have suffered are over x x x".

Another wrote: "Love you Danielle, you had the most beautiful soul."

It is understood her body will be released for repatriation today.

A family friend is expected to accompany her body home to Ireland.

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin said Ms McLaughlin was travelling to India under a British passport.

"It has been confirmed that the woman travelled to India using a British passport, so the local British consulate has the lead responsibility in terms of dealings with the Indian authorities," a spokesman said.

"The Irish Embassy is liaising closely with the British authorities and an Irish consular official is travelling from New Delhi to Goa."

In 2008, British teenager Scarlett Keeling was found dead on Goa's popular Anjuna beach.

The 15-year-old drowned after allegedly being plied with drugs.

Two men, Samson D'Souza and Placido Carvalho, were cleared of raping and killing her by an Indian court last year.

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