Young Bri­ton mur­dered in Goa

Saturday Star - - WORLD -

GOA: Half a mil­lion hol­i­day­mak­ers visit Goa each year, en­ticed by the In­dian state’s cheap deals and win­ter sun.

Its golden beaches, laid-back vibe and abun­dance of cheap drugs, make it a des­ti­na­tion favoured by young trav­ellers.

But the mur­der this week of Danielle McLaugh­lin, 28, who had Bri­tish-Ir­ish cit­i­zen­ship, has again ex­posed a men­ac­ing un­der­cur­rent.

McLaugh­lin’s naked body was found in a pool of blood the morn­ing after she joined lo­cals cel­e­brat­ing the Hindu fes­ti­val of Holi. Within hours, po­lice had seized a lo­cal petty crim­i­nal Vikat Bha­gat, 24, who has a track record of rob­bing for­eign tourists.

The seedy side of Goa was de­picted in a con­tro­ver­sial 2011 Bol­ly­wood thriller which had a trailer with the line: “Here in Goa, liquor is cheap, but girls are even cheaper.”

Tourist chiefs have des­per­ately at­tempted to down­play the im­age – and tried to get the film banned – but Goa has de­vel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion for po­lice cor­rup­tion, ex­tor­tion and sex at­tacks which al­legedly in­volve a drug mafia with links to top politi­cians.

Seven for­eign­ers were mur­dered in Goa be­tween 2013 and Fe­bru­ary 2016, ac­cord­ing to a lo­cal pa­per.

In 2008, the body of Bri­tish teenager Scar­lett Keel­ing was found on An­juna beach after a sus­pected sex at­tack. After a painfully slow le­gal process, two men were last year cleared of rap­ing and mur­der­ing the 15-year-old but only after the trial heard claims about a drugs mafia with con­nec­tions to se­nior politi­cians.

A Bri­tish For­eign Of­fice ad­vi­sory said: “There have been re­ports of drinks be­ing spiked and trav­ellers, in­clud­ing Bri­tish na­tion­als, sub­se­quently be­ing robbed, sex­u­ally as­saulted or dy­ing.

“There have also been re­ports of lo­cals posing as po­lice of­fi­cers or gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in or­der to ex­tort money, so be alert if ap­proached. Avoid beaches after dark.” – Daily Mail

Danielle McLaugh­lin

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