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Last Updated: Monday, 10 March 2008, 19:29 GMT
Goa rape suspect appears in court
Scarlett Keeling. Picture: Barcroft Media
Witnesses said they saw Samson D'Souza with Scarlett

A man suspected of raping a British teenager found dead on a beach in Goa, India, has appeared before a court.

The body of Scarlett Keeling, 15, of Bideford, Devon, was found last month. Police initially said she had drowned after drinking too much.

Samson D'Souza, a local 29-year-old man, has been charged with rape but not with Miss Keeling's killing. He was remanded in custody for 14 days.

Goa's tourism minister has said police tried to cover up the murder.

A murder inquiry was eventually started on the recommendation of doctors who examined Miss Keeling's body.

Mr Samson told the court in Mapusa that he was with Miss Keeling the entire night and left her at 0500, but she was still alive when he left her.

This is a clear case of murder and it has gone out of proportion because the police tried to cover it up
Francisco X Pacheco, tourism minister

He was detained by police after witnesses said they saw him with Miss Keeling shortly before her body was found at the Anjuna resort on 18 February.

Fiona MacKeown, Scarlett's mother, was on a six-month holiday with her boyfriend and six other children when her daughter died.

The rest of the party were travelling to a neighbouring state while Scarlett stayed with a tour guide in Anjuna.

Mrs MacKeown, who has insisted from the beginning that her daughter was sexually assaulted and murdered, has criticised the police investigation.

She told BBC News: "I'm not confident that they've got the right person, I think they're just making a public show to be honest.

Map showing the location of Goa on the west coast of India

"We've had many reports that they've done this before with other cases for a start off and I just think they're going to continue to try and cover themselves up and their mistakes."

A second post-mortem examination discovered there was not enough water in the dead girl's lungs for her to have drowned.

The doctors who carried out the latest examination discovered some 50 bruises and abrasions on Scarlett's body and unanimously recommended police open a murder inquiry into the death.

Goa's Tourism Minister Francisco X Pacheco has stated that Indian police deliberately covered up Scarlett Keeling's murder.

"This is a clear case of murder and it has gone out of proportion because the police tried to cover it up," he told Reuters.

Mrs MacKeown, who described Scarlett as "a really affectionate, loving girl", is preparing to fly her daughter's body back to the UK before returning to India to help with the investigation.

The suspect being led away from court

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