Wednesday 21 February 2018

Amazon pirate murder: Leader of gang who killed British teacher on bucket list holiday is 'shot dead'

Gangster attacked over valuables he stole from former headteacher, police believe

Adventurer Emma Kelty, 43, from London, was last heard from on Wednesday September 13
Adventurer Emma Kelty, 43, from London, was last heard from on Wednesday September 13

The ringleader of a gang of pirates suspected of robbing and murdering a British kayaker in the Amazon has been killed, Brazilian police have said.

Evanilson Gomes da Costa – a 24-year-old known as Baia – was one of seven gang members who police believe murdered Emma Kelty, a former headteacher from north London.

Da Costa was shot twice in the early hours of Wednesday morning at his home in the remote town of Coari and later died in hospital, police said.

Da Costa identified the man who shot him before he died in hospital, according to police. Officers are searching for the suspect, who they said was already known to the force.

He is believed to be a member of a rival gang, who attacked Da Costa because he wanted valuables the gangster had stolen from the former headteacher.

A GoPro camera, mobile phones, a tablet and a drone were among the items taken from Ms Kelty.

The police said in a statement: “According to investigations, people supposedly linked to the drug trade in the area were named as responsible for the execution of the offender, who was 24.

“He was rescued, taken to a hospital in the municipality, but succumbed to his injuries and died around 8.30am today (Wednesday).”

Ms Kelty was kayaking alone along the Amazon river when she went missing in the Solimoes area, an area notorious for drug trafficking and piracy.

She set off a distress signal last Wednesday, but despite extensive searches by police and the navy, her body has not been found.

A suspect arrested on Monday in Codajas said a gang of seven people took the 43-year-old’s belongings, shot her twice with a sawn-off shotgun and dumped her body in the river.

The suspect was named on Wednesday as 19-year-old Jardel Pinheiro Gomes, who goes by the name of Kael. Police said he was 19, not 17, as he had previously claimed.

Ms Kelty’s family have paid tribute to an “active and determined sister” and said the world was “a much smaller place” after her death.

In a Facebook post, they said: “We are extremely proud of our sister who was dearly loved by us all and her strength will be sorely missed.”

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