Young Briton murdered in Goa
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