The mother of Scarlett Keeling has spoken of her relief after a man was finally convicted of killing the British schoolgirl at an Indian beach resort more than a decade ago.
Fiona MacKeown, 55, from Holsworthy, Devon, has been fighting for justice since her 15-year-old daughter’s bruised and half-naked body was found on the shores of Anjuna beach in Goa in February 2008.
Two local men were charged with her rape and murder but acquitted in 2016.
After Ms MacKeown urged the authorities to appeal and the case was sent to a higher court, Samson D’Souza was convicted on Wednesday of ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’, according to local media. The court upheld the acquittal of the other suspect.
Ms MacKeown told PA: “I’m actually still reeling. I can’t quite believe that it’s going to be over.
“It’s happening. It’s taking it’s time to sink in that this is finally going to be over.
“Our lives have been on hold, well for me anyway. It’s different for the children.
“They’ve been getting on with their lives by growing up. But it’s been traumatic.
“Whenever I go to India they’re always worried about what will happen to me.
“We are definitely going to be celebrating tonight with a bottle of bubbly.”
The teenager travelled to India for a six-month family holiday with her mother and six of her eight brothers and sisters from their home in Bideford, Devon.
But after going to a Valentine’s Day beach party while her family went travelling, she was raped and deliberately drowned after being plied with drugs.
A first post-mortem examination ruled Scarlett died of accidental drowning.
But Ms MacKoewn put pressure on the Indian authorities to carry out another post mortem, which revealed she was raped and murdered.
D’Souza and another suspect, Placido Carvalho, who worked at a nearby beach shack, were arrested along with a third man who was questioned over supplying drugs.
A Goan police officer who first investigated the death was also dismissed.
D’Souza and Carvalho were cleared in 2016 but the Central Bureau of Investigation appealed against the verdict and the High Court took up the case in 2017.
D’Souza will be sentenced on Friday and faces up to life in prison.