A 28-year-old Irish woman Danielle McLaughlin was found brutally murdered in a field, around 150 metres from the main road, at Devbag in Canacona on Tuesday. The body was found lying totally nude.
In this connection, the Canacona police rounded up several persons and finally zeroed in on a thief and ex-convict Vikat Bhagat, who is a suspect in the case. The police have registered the case as murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and arrested Bhagat, who will be produced in court on Wednesday for remand.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Sammy Tavares said that after seeing the position of the body as it was lying in the field, rape may not be ruled out. He, however, said that the police will have to wait till the post-mortem is conducted on the body to ascertain whether there was sexual assault on the woman. The body had several bruises and the face had cuts inflicted probably using a blunt object, said police.
According to Canacona police inspector Filomeno Costa, who is investigating the case under Tavares, the deceased had come to Canacona on Monday from Arambol along with another friend, who is a UK national. They had put up in Festival Valley at Agonda.
Costa said that the police were informed by some person at 8 am on Tuesday that a dead body was lying naked in a field. Costa, along with a police team, rushed to the scene and after the inquest panchanama, registered a case of murder. Soon, Tavares, Sanguem police inspector Uttam Raut Desai and Superintendent of Police (crime) Umesh Gaonkar arrived and took stock of the situation.
The suspect Bhagat has been sent for medical examination. Some reliable sources said that the murdered woman was seen with Bhagat on Monday. Further investigation into the case is in progress.
It may be recalled that in 1994 two murders had taken place in the state – Indu murder and Sulaksha Marathe murder, while two years back, another Pagi community woman was murdered at Mastimol valley in Canacona.
It may also be noted that a UK national, Scarlett Keeling, was found dead on Anjuna beach in north Goa where she had been staying after befriending a local tour guide. Scarlett was on a six-month trip to India with her extended family in 2008 when the tragedy struck. The 15-year-old had left her family to attend a Valentine’s Day party in Anjuna, and was found drowned on the beach days later.