Goa is one of the most common subjects for lyrical travel pieces in the British news media, but last week’s murder of Irish-British dual national Danielle McLaughlin has brought the popular tourist resort in the headlines for less than gushing reasons.
The February 2008 murder of British teenager Scarlett Keeling continues to make news: her mother, Fiona MacKeown, launched a fund-raising campaign earlier this month to raise £20,000 to offer as reward for information or evidence that leads to her killer’s conviction.
Now a campaign to raise €10,000 to bring the body of McLaughlin, 28, to Ireland quickly reached over €37,800. She was found dead last Tuesday near the Palolem beach. Her body is expected to reach Ireland early this week.
Hailing from County Donegal in Ireland, she was a student in Liverpool. The Irish embassy and the British high commission in India are reportedly assisting in dealing with issues related to the murder.
The Goa police have arrested a suspect, but several reports here question whether the killer or killers will be brought to justice, given the fate of the Keeling case, in which two accused were acquitted in 2016. The British news media have been closely covering the McLaughlin case.
McLaughlin’s murder is also the subject of animated discussion among people of Goa origin based in Britain and elsewhere. Tourism is a major industry in Goa, but many expressed dismay on social media sites that murder incidents gave the state a bad name.
“It is so sad. You can’t trust the police and politicians in Goa. It is not only the British who are questioning police’s role; even we Goans don’t have much trust in them. Every Goan family here I know is talking about it,” London-based Jaime Barreto of Goa origin told HT.
Goa is one of the most popular destinations of British tourists; most visits are incident-free. But the Foreign Office has a separate section on its India travel advice on Goa, where many Britons have died of alcohol and drug abuse, or drown due to strong currents in the sea.
The advisory on Goa says: “If you’re staying in a hotel on the smaller roads in the Candolim-Calangute belt, take particular care when walking to or from the main road. There have been reports of bag-snatchings on these roads. The thieves are usually on motorbikes, with headlights on full-beam to blind their victims.”
“There have been reports of drinks being spiked and travellers, including British nationals, subsequently being robbed, sexually assaulted or killed. There have also been reports of locals posing as police officers or government officials in order to extort money, so be alert if approached. Avoid beaches after dark. Travellers should observe and respect local dress and customs.”