2008 Goa mur­der of Bri­tish teen: Court ac­quits both the ac­cused Mum­bai-born man sent to jail in US gang-rape case

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Press Trust of In­dia let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Two lo­cal men ac­cused of drug­ging, sex­u­ally abus­ing and leav­ing Bri­tish teenage girl Scar­lett Eden Keel­ing to die on Goa’s pop­u­lar An­juna beach in 2008 were on Fri­day let off by a chil­dren’s court here.

Goa Chil­dren’s Court judge Van­dana Ten­dulkar ac­quit­ted Samson D’Souza and Placido Car­valho of all the charges in the eight-year-long high pro­file death case.

Car­valho and Samson had been charged with cul­pa­ble homi­cide not amount­ing to mur­der, sex­ual abuse and drug­ging.

The ver­dict was an­nounced in a jam packed court hall.

Scar­lett’s mother Fiona Macke­own ex­pressed shock at the ver­dict. “I am shocked. I was not ex­pect­ing ac­quit­tal. I was ex­pect­ing con­vic­tion. I will chal­lenge the or­der,” Fiona told re­porters out­side the court hall here.

Af­ter her daugh­ter’s body was found, Fiona had lived in An­juna for a cou­ple of weeks try­ing to piece to­gether the ev­i­dence in the case. She flew down to Goa from Davon (United King­dom) to be present in the court for the fi­nal ver­dict.

“It took a huge ef­fort for me to even get the po­lice to reg­is­ter a com­plaint [in the case],” she said re­call­ing her strug­gle to get jus­tice for her 15-year-old daugh­ter.

She al­leged she knew that the Goa po­lice was not in­ter­ested to pros­e­cute the killers.

Ce­cil Bur­rows came to the US when he was 12, and lonely and iso­lated he fell in with a gang of crim­i­nals, set­ting off on a road that would take him to jail and even­tu­ally, when he is out, back to Mum­bai, where he was born.

Bur­rows, 23 was sen­tenced to 18 months in jail by a court in Mont­gomery, a county in Mary­land abut­ting Wash­ing­ton DC, for his role in the gang-rape of a nearly co­matose woman in a town­house nearly four years ago in 2012.

He had played the role of a “coach”, is­su­ing in­struc­tions.

“Hold her down,” he was heard say­ing in a 35-minute au­dio record­ing played in the court, ac­cord­ing to The Wash­ing­ton Post, on Thurs­day,

“Ce­cil, he like a coach,” said one of the as­sailants.

Bur­rows had recorded the as­sault, which had taken place at his house. But his role would be dis­cov­ered two years later, when one of the con­victed men gave him away, telling de­tec­tives he was at home then and not away.

Bur­rows had told po­lice ear­lier he had stepped out to get beer when the woman, who was ei­ther drunk or had been drugged, was as­saulted.

The record­ing, only au­dio, was found on his com­puter.

Scar­lett Keel­ing:

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