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Witnesses piece British teenager's last hours

A Briton who claims to have seen murdered UK teenager in her final hours at a Goa bar says Scarlette Keeling was drunk, high on LSD and coke.
Hindustan Times | By Vijay Dutt, London
UPDATED ON MAR 11, 2008 09:58 AM IST

A Briton has claimed that he saw Scarlette Keeling — the 15-year-old British girl who was found dead on a Goa beach on February 18 — less than two hours before she was found dead.

He said he was at Lui’s bar where Scarlette — high on a cocktail of LSD, Ecstasy and cocaine — spent her last few hours before she was allegedly murdered. He told the Times that he saw an Indian barman apparently sexually assaulting her in the bar’s car park less than two hours before the teen’s body was found on the beach. His account comes as the Goa police said they have arrested Samson D’Souza, a barman at Lui’s, on suspicions of raping Scarlette.

The witness, requesting anonymity, said that he fled Goa because he believed his life was in danger. The details he has now revealed make him a crucial witness in the case.

The Briton also accused British consular officials of not providing any help or protection. “I’m trying to do the right thing; I want to co-operate,” he said. “But I feel that I am in great danger and the British authorities are doing nothing to help me.”

The witness, who is in touch with Scarlette’s mother Fiona MacKeown’s lawyer, said that he was at Lui's bar from 8 pm on February 17 till about 5 am the following day. He drank a beer and several glasses of juice but no more alcohol since he was on antibiotics.

He first saw Scarlette when she fell over on the beach in front of Lui’s at about 3 am and was helped into the bar by the owner. She told the handful of staff and customers that she had no money to get a taxi home but did not appear to be in a hurry. “She was wasted and talking gibberish. I told people to stay away from her because she was clearly very young.” She told the witness later that she had taken three drops of LSD, two Ecstasy pills and cocaine.

Shortly after entering Lui's, Scarlette went into the kitchen for an hour, talking and taking cocaine with some men. At about 5 am, one of the men offered Scarlette a lift and left with her. When the witness noticed that a barman from Lui’s also left, he went to the car park behind the bar to take a look. The Briton said that he saw the man who had offered Scarlette the lift riding away on his scooter alone and, in the beam of the vehicle’s headlight, he saw the barman “lying on top” of Scarlette.

The witness said that he got on his own scooter and shouted at the barman as he drove off but did not intervene because he did not hear screaming or an signs of struggle. He did not inform the police immediately because he was afraid of recriminations from the assailant or corrupt officers.

When he heard that the police were looking for him, he telephoned the British Deputy High Commissioner but was told that officials could not interfere in judicial matters. He was given the details of two lawyers. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office declined to comment on why it had been unable to offer more assistance.

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