Danielle McLaughlin was seen walking on the eve of her death on video, along with the man who has been identified as her killer by the police.
Dual Irish-British national was shown on released CCTV footage on the day before her death in the Indian state of Goa.
Investigating the murder:
Deputy Superintendent of Canacona police, Sammy Tavares told local media that Danielle McLaughlin’s body was found naked and severely beaten in a field between the popular Palolem and Agonda beaches in the south of the state, on Tuesday morning.
On Thursday, police released footage showing McLaughlin, 28, walking on Monday before nightfall with a man police have named accused murderer Vikat Bhagat.
Bhagat who is originally from County Donegal, confessed to the murder but denied sexually assaulting McLaughlin, according to police.
On Thursday, Tavares told the Guardian that the police was given permission by a court to hold Bhagat for seven days to complete their investigation.
McLaughlin and Bhagat met on a previous trip to Goa, she was seen with him from the afternoon of the 13th
Bhagat, 24, was described by locals as a gang member and petty criminal. He was arrested on Tuesday morning within four hours of police discovering McLaughlin’s body. Bhagat confessed to being involved in the gruesome murder, according to Tavares.
Taveres stated that the investigation is now focused on finding her mobile phone. He added that a postmortem was being conducted in the Goan capital, Panjim, on Thursday and the results were expected to be known by the evening
The doctor’s report would determine if McLaughlin had been sexually assaulted. Both British and Irish consular officials were on hand for the medical examination.
About 200 locals and tourists attended a vigil on Wednesday evening near where McLaughlin’s body was found. They lit candles and laid wreaths and flowers on the grass, some carried a banner reading: “Justice for Danielle”.
Questions on transparency:
The police handling of the case was criticized after Saskia Gall, a British national living in the area was asked to help identify McLaughlin. She said that there had been significant “contamination of evidence” at the crime scene, adding that when she arrived to the field there were about 30 or more men standing next to the body taking photos and watching. She also questioned police claims that McLaughlin had been found in a pool of blood.
Nine years ago Goan police were accused of overlooking evidence in the death of British teenager Scarlett Keeling, which is adding pressure on them to investigate this case transparently.
Keeling’s death was ruled an accidental drowning at first. But pressure from the girl’s mother forced a second autopsy. Evidence of drugs in her system was discovered along with more than 50 cuts and bruises as well as evidence of sexual assault.
Last September, the two men who were charged with her murder were acquitted, but Indian authorities are appealing against the judgment.