Page last updated at 13:14 GMT, Friday, 1 August 2008 14:14 UK

Man 'admits Brazil girl murder'

Cara Burke with Mohamed D'Ali Carvalho Santos
The pair are thought to have travelled to Brazil about three months ago

A man has confessed to the murder of a British teenager whose torso was found in a suitcase in Brazil, police say.

The remains of Cara Marie Burke, 17, of Wandsworth, south London, were found by a motorway on Tuesday in the city of Goiania, in the central state of Goias.

Goias state police said Brazilian Mohamed D'Ali Carvalho Santos, 20, had admitted murdering her.

But Mr Santos told the BBC he and Ms Burke had been "friends". Asked if he killed her, he replied "not exactly".

Officers believe Miss Burke may have travelled to the country to marry Mr Santos to secure him a visa.

He has been charged with homicide after "he confessed he cut her up and even photographed the body on his cellular phone," Goias state police inspector Jorge Moreira da Silva said.

"He offered me 80-thousand reals (almost 26,000 - $51,200) to free him."

The BBC's Gary Duffy in Brazil said the suspect had been arrested on Wednesday night in a place used to buy drugs.

He spoke to Mr Santos in the police station where he is being held.


Cara Burke was brutally murdered

Mr Santos said he and Miss Burke had been friends but were not in a relationship.

He said he had liked her, but that she had another boyfriend in Brazil.

Asked if he had carried out the killing as alleged by the police, he replied "not exactly", before adding that he needed to speak to his lawyer before saying anything further.

Map of Brazil showing Goiania

Inspector Silva said Mr Santos confessed to killing Miss Burke because she threatened to tell his parents he was a drug dealer addicted to cocaine, and she was considering turning him in to police.

After fatally stabbing Burke on Saturday, Mr Santos left her body in the bathroom and went to a party, returning to dismember her the next day, the police inspector said.

Miss Burke's family are believed to have been alerted to her death after a report was broadcast on an international channel of Brazil's Record TV, which can be seen in the UK.

It is believed she was identified by a distinctive tattoo that said "Mum" on her body.

Police are still searching for her head, arms and the lower parts of her legs, which Mr Santos said he hid in a rural area outside town.

Miss Burke's brother Michael said they have asked for help from the British police.

"Me and my mum have asked for the liaison officer to be able to contact the Brazilian Embassy to try and get things speeded up.

"We are going to be taken now to a London police station. From there my mum can get her head together and thoughts together."

A British vice consul is in Goiania tracking the case and the police investigation, a spokeswoman for the British Embassy in Brasilia said.

Country profile: Brazil
22 Apr 08 |  Country profiles

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