Saturday 24 March 2018

No trace of murdered Danielle's telephone or passport

Danielle McLaughlin: Her family may not get her body back for another week Photo: PA
Danielle McLaughlin: Her family may not get her body back for another week Photo: PA
Danielle McLaughlin

Alan O'Keeffe

A phone and passport belonging to murder victim Danielle McLaughlin have still not been located by police in India.

But a tablet device being carried by the 28-year-old woman before she was attacked has been found by investigating officers.

Suspect Vikat Bhagat (23) is facing rape charges after the results of a post-mortem examination showed the victim was sexually assaulted.

Mr Bhagat has already been held on remand on a murder charge. The suspect told police there were other people present when he killed Ms McLaughlin, and officers are searching for more suspects.

The GoFundMe account set up to raise money to bring her remains back to her native Buncrana, Co Donegal, has now exceeded €36,000. But Ms McLaughlin's family may have to wait another week before her funeral takes place in Ireland.

While efforts are being made with authorities in India to repatriate her body as soon as possible, it is now believed her funeral may not take place until the second half of next week at the earliest.

Read More: Danielle's killer 'caught on CCTV'

British consular officials, together with the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, are working with her family to expedite the release of the remains.

A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman said last night that British Embassy staff were providing consular services as Ms McLaughlin was travelling with a British passport.

"As far as we can, we are supporting the family," he said.

Expats, backpackers and locals gathered at the scene of the brutal murder for a solemn ceremony that took place on Wednesday.

Ms McLaughlin had travelled to Goa with a friend and they were attending the Hindu spring festival of Holi on Monday night in a nearby village. Her body was discovered on Tuesday near a popular beach in south Goa.

Buncrana parish priest Fr Francis Bradley said recently the circumstances of her death made the grief of her family "particularly difficult".

"There is the heartbreak of the experience for Danielle's mother Andrea and her young sisters, some of whom are very young," he said. Ms McLaughlin had and was, in many respects, "a free spirit", he said.

"Even amid the terrible loss and grief, there is still the light of hope that Danielle's life was not lived in vain," he said.

"In the tremendous outpouring of solidarity and support, care and concern from so many people near and far, it reminds us that goodness will still outshine everything else," he said.

Irish Independent

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