Scarlet Keeling was a happy 15 year old British good looking charming teenager. She was on an extended holiday with her mother Fiona, his boyfriend and six siblings. Little did she know that this holiday and her adventures in the beach city of Goa will eventually get her killed?
It has been 8 years since the mysterious murder on 17th Feburary 2008, there have been claims of sexual assault and corrupt police, negligent parenting and political cover-ups have generated endless headlines that made this case gain National as well as international attention from the British Media.
On Friday the 24th of 2016 Scarlet’s mother Fiona MacKeown lost all hope in the Indian Judiciary and felt “devastated” when Goa Children’s Court Judge Vandana Tendulkar acquitted Samson D’Souza and Placido Carvalho of all the charges. 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.
In a statement to Indian Express Fiona was heard saying “If international tourist comes to Goa and gets murdered, they have no hope for justice in this system,” she added.
Before we take sides on the case let us take a look at the facts which eventually led to the final verdict-
The Accused- Scarlet on the night of her murder was last seen at Luis’ Shack and Samson D’Souza, 30, then was working as a bartender, or “shack boy”, at the make shift beach shack.
The second man accused is Placido Carvalho, 42, an alleged drug dealer, was accused of plying Scarlett with cocaine.
The two men are known to be friends and were seen with Scarlet by many eye-witnesses on the dreadful night.
The Prosecution’s case- the case presented to the court by Fiona was largely rested o the shoulders of Michael Mannion – a 43-year-old long-term Goa tourist known to friends as “Masala Mike”. He was the only eye-witness in the case as he stated to the police that he had spoken to Scarlett earlier in the evening and that she had looked intoxicated, and that later on he had seen Samson D’Souza on top of Scarlett outside a bar.
But after Scarlett’s body was found, Mannion fled and went into hiding for several days. He however did later come forward after police promised to protect him, and gave his account of events to a magistrate. But thereafter he moved back to England.He has since repeatedly refused to travel to Goa to give evidence, or even appear before the court.
The Defense- the defense side has made their case mostly on the basis of the initial post-mortem which merely stated Scarlett’s death was “due to drowning… with a few non-fatal injuries”.
They pointed to the presence of morphine and cocaine in Scarlett’s system to explain how a strong swimmer could have drowned in the sea late at night
The lack of the eye witness account finally led the court to give a decision in favor of the Defense and let go of the accused parties.
The Scarlet case is one of the most controversial Murder cases of Goa and we just hope justice or not her pure soul may find peace.
Links: Telegraph UK, Indianexpress