Fiona deposes in Goa court; says police suppressed facts

July 30th, 2010 - 9:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, July 30 (IANS) In her first deposition to a local trial court, Fiona Mackeown Friday accused the police of suppressing facts and failing to collect crucial evidence in connection with the murder case of her daughter Scarlett Keeling, who was found sexually assaulted and killed at the Anjuna beach in February 2008.
Fiona, 46, who flew in from Britain Thursday, said she had soon after her daughter’s death thought that an Israeli boy known only as Shanti was responsible for it.

“When the cover was removed, the body was naked and there were some bruises on the forehead. At that time PI (then police sub-inspector) Nerlon Albuquerque was standing next to me. I asked him about the bruises on the forehead as previously he had told me that there were no bruises,” said Fiona, recalling the sequence of events.

Fiona said right from the beginning she had refused to believe police claims that Scarlett died due to drowning.

“He (Nerlon) told me that she had drowned during swimming. Scarlett was very good in swimming so I did not believe him,” Fiona told the Goa Children’s Court (GCC), a designated authority, which tries crimes against children in Goa.

Dressed in a chequered shirt and pair of trousers, Fiona introduced herself to the president of the GCC as a Devon, British farmer, who “breeds puppies, horses, grows trees, makes furniture”, in addition to receiving a government subsidy of 90 pounds per week.

Fiona also told the GCC that soon after her daughter’s death, her first suspicion went to an Israeli boy name Shanti, who had been troubling them.

“We met Shanti in Anjuna. He was an Israeli boy. He was harmless and met us a lot. He had followed Scarlett and we had to ask him to go away,” she said.

To a direct question by the defence counsel, as to whether Shanti had threatened Scarlett or herself, Fiona said: “He was a nuisance and it is difficult to answer your question. He also used to throw stones at us.”

The death of Scarlett and Fiona’s subsequent campaign for justice had received international attention and had exposed the nexus of beach-oriented backpack tourism and the narcotics lobby active in the state, which Fiona alleged was behind her daughter’s murder.

Two beach shack workers, Samson D’souza and Placido Carvalho, have already been arrested and booked for culpable homicide and sexual assault in connection with the case.

The trial resumes Monday.

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