India: CCTV footage emerges of murdered Irish woman’s final movements
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India: CCTV footage emerges of murdered Irish woman’s final movements

CCTV footage has emerged of an Irish backpacker’s final movements before she was murdered in the southern Indian state of Goa.

The footage shows Danielle McLaughlin walking down the street accompanied by a local man, alleged to be her killer.

McLaughlin’s naked body was discovered in an open field on Tuesday morning, 2km away from Palolem, one of the most popular tourist beaches in south Goa.

The BBC reports McLaughlin’s body is undergoing postmortem to determine if she was sexually assaulted, as police believe this to be the case.

Police said local resident Vikat Bhagat, 24, who has a criminal record, had been arrested in connection with the crime.

According to reports, the man in custody has admitted to sexually assaulting and killing the 28-year-old traveller. It is believed Bhagat killed McLaughlin with a broken beer bottle to prevent her from revealing his identity.

He was detected by police after CCTV footage showed the two together, accompanied by three other men.

Police said the victim knew Bhagat from her previous visits to Goa, during which she befriended several locals, including her alleged killer.

Bhagat appeared in court on Wednesday and has been charged with her murder.

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McLaughlin grew up in Ireland and travelled to India in February. She has been described as a “confident, sociable, outgoing girl of a very caring nature” by those that knew her.

Locals and tourists held a vigil for McLaughlin on Wednesday evening where her body was found. A green banner was laid on the ground reading “Justice for Danielle”, surrounded by flowers and candles.

The brutal death has shaken the community in Goa, who rely heavily on tourism for the local economy and worry the image of the area will be damaged.

A similar case involving a foreign tourist occurred in 2008 when the bruised and half-naked body of 15-year-old Briton Scarlett Keeling was found on Anjuna beach. She had been plied with alcohol and drugs prior to her death.

Amid massive attention from the international media, the two suspects were cleared of all charges by an Indian court in September 2016. No one is yet to be convicted for Keeling’s death.