A Goa court has acquitted both the accused in the sensational 2008 rape and murder of British national Scarlett Keeling, triggering outrage in a case that put a global spotlight on the dark underbelly of India’s tourism industry. She was fifteen at the time of incidence.
Two beach shack workers Samson D’souza (48) and Placido Carvalho (37) were acquitted by the Goa children’s court on Friday. They had been accused of sexually assaulting Scarlett after giving her a cocktail of drugs and leaving her unconscious in the shallow waters.
“I am devastated and will definitely be challenging the verdict. I am reeling. It’s been eight years of agony. The Indian judicial system has totally let me down,” said Scarlett’s mother, Fiona MacKeown, who came to Goa hoping her daughter would finally get justice.
“My daughter was murdered. Someone should be held responsible,” she added.
The trial into the Keeling case started in 2010 and nearly 70 witnesses were examined over the past six years.
The Goa Police was subsequently forced to hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation, which eventually filed the chargesheet against Samson D’Souza and Placido Carvalho.
Scarlett’s bruised and partially clothed body was found on Anjuna beach in February 2008.
She had been at a Valentine’s Day beach party while the rest of her family had gone travelling.