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UK tourist killed in India

A British tourist was found dead in an Indian jungle, amid media reports he had been killed by villagers who suspected him of misbehaving with a woman.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2007 14:02 IST

A British tourist was found dead in a western Indian jungle last month, British authorities said, amid media reports he had been killed by villagers who suspected him of "misbehaving" with a woman.

Stephen Bennett, 40, of Cheltenham, "was found hanging in a jungle in Roha on December 12", a British High Commission spokeswoman in New Delhi said.

"The cause of death is being investigated by the Indian police," she added.

"They are treating it as a murder case. Four people were arrested on December 14," said the spokeswoman, who declined to be identified.

Roha lies 120 kilometres (74 miles) from India's financial capital Mumbai.

Bennett was killed by villagers in Roha who suspected he had "misbehaved" with a woman, a newspaper report quoting police said Wednesday.

Bennett, who was holidaying in the popular western resort state of Goa, got off a train at Roha town in the early hours of December 12, Madhukar Talpade, a senior police official, was quoted by the Times of India, as saying.

Bennett then went to nearby Malasai village and knocked on the door of Nirmala Rane, the report said.

Rane had been working outside on her porch but went inside and bolted the door when she saw the stranger approach.

"When Nirmala failed to respond, he (Bennett) continued to knock," Talpade told the Times of India.

"Nirmala then woke up her husband Ramesh and brother-in-law Vithoba," he said.

The pair suspected Bennett "had misbehaved" with the woman while she had been outside and believed he was trying to follow her into the house, the report said.

The report did not state the nature of the misbehaviour.

"The duo armed with firewood" were joined by other men from the village who clubbed Bennett to death, Talpade said.

The report said that two of the accused men were from the woman's family.

It did not say how Bennett's body ended up in the jungle.