Page last updated at 06:06 GMT, Thursday, 5 June 2008 07:06 UK

Police still say Scarlett raped

Scarlett Keeling
Scarlett Keeling was found dead on a beach in the resort of Anjuna

Police still believe the British girl murdered in India was raped, despite new forensic tests which found no evidence for this.

Tests on samples taken from Devon teenager Scarlett Keeling, who was killed on a beach in Goa in February, found no traces of semen.

But police say they have enough circumstantial evidence to charge the two suspects with rape and murder.

Police initially said 15-year-old Scarlett drowned accidentally.

Bosco George, superintendent of police in Goa, said: "We have already served a charge sheet with the forensic report citing murder and rape in this case. We have enough circumstantial evidence to point to rape."

'Evidence tampered with'

Vikram Varma, the lawyer acting for Scarlett's mother Fiona MacKeown, has claimed forensic evidence may have been tampered with, fearing it could jeopardise the case against the two men in custody.

The teenager, from Bradworthy, north Devon, was on a six-month holiday with her family when she died.

She had been left at the Anjuna resort while the rest of the family travelled further afield.

The latest results from swabs taken from Scarlett's body were announced in India on Wednesday.

Mr Varma said the results cast doubt on the accounts of witnesses who say they saw her being raped.

Two men have so far been arrested in the case. Samson D'Souza, 28, has been charged with rape and is in police custody.

It is possible that if they do not believe she was raped then the whole thing could be looked at as a story
Vikram Varma, lawyer

Placido Carvalho, who was questioned on suspicion of drugging Scarlett, was granted bail by a court in Goa on 4 April.

Mr Varma told BBC Radio Devon that Mrs MacKeown was very upset at the test results.

"It's frustrating and shocking to her," he said.

"And it would be for any mother who knows what the facts on the ground are and how they are being manipulated at the investigation level."

Mr Varma said that the potential new evidence could have serious implications for the case.

"They are saying she did not have sex on the night she died," he said.

"It is possible that if they do not believe she was raped then the whole thing could be looked at as a story."

Campaign

Mrs MacKeown said her daughter was open about having sex with her boyfriend, believed to be a 25-year-old tour guide she had met in Anjuna.

Fiona MacKeown
Fiona MacKeown fought to have her daughter's death reinvestigated

"We know Scarlett was having a sexual relationship and there are witnesses saying she was raped, so I can't see what else these tests could mean other than someone has been messing about with them," she said.

Mrs MacKeown fought to have her daughter's death reinvestigated after Goan authorities initially ruled it an accident.

A second post-mortem examination revealed she was killed and a murder investigation was then launched.

Tests also revealed that Scarlett had taken ecstasy, cocaine and LSD on the night she died.



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