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Trial of British woman murdered in Goa to begin on Friday

28-year-old tourist Danielle McLaughling was raped, murdered and had her face smashed as she was holidaying in Goa last year.

mumbai Updated: Apr 05, 2018 15:03 IST
Press Trust of India, Panaji
Danielle McLaughling,Goa rape and murder,Vikat Bhagat
Police examined 68 witnesses in the case.(AFP/File Photo)

The trial in last year’s murder of British national Danielle McLaughling will start in South Goa district court on Friday with examination of a prosecution witness who had first spotted her body on the beach.

The 28-year-old British woman was found dead on an isolated stretch between Agonda and Canacona beaches in South Goa on March 14, 2017. The British national, of Irish origin, was holidaying in Goa when she was killed.

One Vikat Bhagat, 23, reportedly having previous criminal antecedents, was arrested for his alleged role in the crime involving murder, rape, theft and destruction of evidence.

Bhagat, who was charge-sheeted in June, 2017, is currently lodged at at Colvale Correction Facility in North Goa, police said. “The trial in the case would begin tomorrow before South Goa District Judge Sayonara Telles,” said advocate Vikram Varma, who will be assisting Assistant Public Prosecutor DJ Costa in the case.

Varma represents the deceased’s mother, Andrea Brannigan, who had moved an intervention petition before the court to allow her, through her lawyer, to assist prosecution in the case. Advocate A Moniz will represent the accused.

“The first batch of five witnesses will be examined during the trial’s initial phase. Among them, Prashant Komarpant, who was the first to see the body of the deceased lying at an isolated spot, would be examined tomorrow,” Varma said.

Komarpant, an agriculturist, had told police that he was passing by when he saw the body of the woman with her face smashed, Varma added.

According to the charge sheet, Bhagat tried to force himself on the woman at an isolated place between Canacona and Agonda beaches. When she resisted, he hit her on the head with a beer bottle, raped and then strangulated her, the charge sheet states.

It adds that the accused then smashed the victim’s face with a stone to destroy evidence.

Police have examined 68 witnesses in the case.

First Published: Apr 05, 2018 15:03 IST