Scarlett Keeling murder: Hoping for justice at last for my daughter, says Fiona McKeown

Updated: Jul 17, 2019, 07:17 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Fiona McKeown, mother of Scarlett Keeling, who was killed on Anjuna beach in 2008, will get a verdict in the case from a division bench of Bombay HC today

Scarlett Keeling murder: Hoping for justice at last for my daughter, says Fiona McKeown
Scarlett Keeling

After struggling for 11 years to get justice for her daughter — Scarlett Keeling — who was found murdered near a shack on Goa's Anjuna beach on February 18, 2008, 55-year-old Fiona McKeown will finally get to hear the verdict of High Court of Bombay at Goa in the case today. Speaking to mid-day from Devon, United Kingdom, where she works on three farms to earn a living, Fiona said, "My life has been hanging in the balance for the past 11 years. As the case has reached a high level in the judiciary system, I hope the judge acknowledges the evidence and takes the right decision."

Fiona further said, "It's been really hard all these years. Sometimes it even felt that it was impossible to get justice. The police and the ministers at that time didn't care about the case. I'm sure there are good cops in Goa but the ones who were in-charge of the case were not. They never investigated it properly, so it's hard to have faith in them. Yet I hope for a positive outcome."

Also read: 28-year-old British woman found dead on Goa beach

Fiona McKeown
Fiona McKeown

Speaking about how she earns her living, Fiona said, "I work on three farms and earn around 1,000 pounds a month." She had started a crowd-funding initiative to raise £20,000, as she wanted to offer that money as a reward for information or evidence related to the case. When asked about how much she managed to collect, Fiona said, "I did not manage to get much through the crowd-funding page but I'm interested in putting it up again if the verdict is negative."

Speaking about the same initiative, advocate Vikram Verma, said, "One of the main reasons behind starting the crowd-funding was to find the person who approached us in 2008, claiming to be an eyewitness of the crime. When Fiona and I were in the middle of a discussion, in the presence of others, the man suddenly left saying that he would be back in two hours but he never returned. All that Fiona remembers about the person was that he was in his late 40s or early 50s. He could not be traced even during the trial. Fiona later found out from locals that the man visited the Luis shack every night and might have probably witnessed something, which would have helped in the case."

"Vikram has always been the hero of our story. Without him we wouldn't have managed anything. I was too distraught in the initial days to have done anything by myself. I am waiting to hear the verdict but don't know what is going to happen," said an emotional Fiona. Advocate Vikram further added, "CBI special prosecutor Ejaz Khan and my team worked really hard to present the case before the court. The matter came up for hearing in May 2019 before justices R Dhanuka and Prithiviraj Chavan, who heard it for 10 days straight before the court went on vacation in June. We are looking forward to the judgment, but no one knows the mind of the court until it is delivered."

Also read: Scarlett Keeling case: Mother offers Rs 16 lakh as reward for witness

Year Scarlett was found murdered at the Goa beach

Year CBI challenged the order that acquitted the accused

The case

A half-clad body of 15-year-old Scarlett Keeling from North Devon, UK, was found at Anjuna beach on February 18, 2008. Initially, the Anjuna Police had tried to cover up the matter by showing it as a drowning case but the second autopsy confirmed rape and death due to drug overdose. Later the Goa police registered an FIR in the matter and arrested three persons — Placido Carvalho, Samson D'souza and a tour guide. Carvalho had admitted to drugging Scarlett and raping her before leaving her on the beach. Later, on a demand of Advocate Vikram and Fiona, the matter was handed over to the CBI. The Goa children court had acquitted the accused sighting lack of evidence in the case, which was challenged by the CBI before the Bombay High Court in 2017.

Also read: Scarlett Keeling's mother to challenge Goa court's verdict

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