A British tourist has been found dead near a beach in the Indian holiday resort of Goa amid fears she was raped and murdered.
The 28-year-old, named by police as Danielle McLaughlin, was found naked in a pool of blood yesterday morning after attending Holi celebrations in the Canacona area of southern Goa.
Ms. McLaughlin, who is thought to have lived in Liverpool, had just arrived from the north of the state and had been seen out and about at a party on Monday night at nearby Palolem beach, popular with Western tourists.
Her badly beaten body was discovered by a farmer at Deobag Beach about four miles away on Tuesday morning. She had suffered extensive injuries to her face.
Police said this morning that they had arrested a suspect named as Vikas Bhagat and that he had made a confession.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Sammy Tavares told reporters: ‘We have arrested Bhagat. He has confessed to raping the victim and later killing her in order to hide his identity.’
Tavares had earlier revealed that the body was found ‘lying in a pool of blood without clothes and there were injuries to the head and face’.
In a heartbreaking post on Facebook written in late February, Ms McLaughlin revealed how she was ‘off on another adventure’ to Goa.
She said: ‘Thank you to all my friends and family for making home so special and always looking after me. I am very grateful and the luckiest person I know… Off on another adventure.’
Under the same post today, which included a sunset landscape picture, a friend wrote: ‘Beautiful sunset for a beautiful soul’.
Ms McLaughlin is believed to have been visiting the area to celebrate the Indian festival of Holi, a spring festival famous for crowds of people throwing paint – and held to celebrate the triumph of good over evil.
Detectives said they had questioned up to 15 people over the killing of Ms McLaughlin, who was travelling under a British passport.
Police Inspector Filomeno Costa told reporters: ‘A local named Prashant Komarpant alerted us after he noticed the body while he was on his way to the fields around 7am on Tuesday morning.
‘The body had bruises and her face was badly smashed. Looking at the injuries we concluded that that it was a case of murder.
‘We sent her body to Goa Medical College for autopsy and awaiting report to ascertain if she was sexually assaulted.
‘We are also speaking with the hotels where she had stayed to find out if she was with her friends or holidaying alone.’
According to Goacom, a friend working in the accommodation business at nearby Agonda said Ms McLaughlin had arrived in the area from Arambol on Sunday and stayed with another friend.
He said she then told the friend she was going to meet some people she had met on a previous trip to the country who were going to help her find accommodation at Palolem.
The friend said she had left at 2pm on Monday and was seen at a hotel in Palolem dancing with her Indian friends during Holi celebrations.
Police are studying the CCTV footage of all the shacks the victim visited on Monday night, and are working with teams of sniffer dogs and forensic teams.
While the police found the deceased’s clothes, they are yet to locate the murder weapon.