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Sarah Groves' family 'asked her not to go to Kashmir'

Sarah Groves Image copyright Handout
Image caption Sarah Groves is believed to have been stabbed

A 24-year-old Guernsey woman who was murdered in Kashmir was asked not to travel there, her family said.

Sarah Groves' father, Victor Groves, told a press conference in Guernsey she had been due to go to Sri Lanka but altered her plans.

"She went north instead. We tried so hard to stop her going," he said.

Indian police said a Dutch national, Richard de Wit, who is in his 40s, had confessed to killing Ms Groves.

Officers said he was arrested about 50 miles (80km) south of Srinigar, carrying only his passport.

He has reportedly claimed he was mentally unstable at the time of the killing.

Houseboat hotel

Ms Groves, a former Blanchelande College student, worked in the gym at Guernsey's Old Government House Hotel before leaving to travel in India two months ago.

Her body was found on a houseboat hotel in Srinagar on Saturday. It is believed she had been stabbed.

Mr Groves said her decision to travel north was a result of her meeting a man called Samir from Kashmir, whose family she subsequently stayed with.

Image caption Sarah Groves' family expressed their thanks to those who had written messages in her memory

He said her family's concern was "nothing against the guy himself" but they had been worried about her interrupting her original travel plans.

Mr Groves said he had spoken to Samir "about five times a day" since Sarah's death.

"In a completely different way, it's devastating for them as well. It happened in their house," he said.

"Most of the people there saw the devastation that was left. I'm sure it's very tough."

Mr Groves said he was informed of his daughter's death during a telephone call in the early hours of Saturday.

He said he asked why the man was calling and was told: "Your daughter is dead. She has been murdered."

He informed Guernsey Police, who confirmed the news two hours later.

At the press conference, also attended by Sarah's brothers, Tom and Ben, and her half-brother Simon, Mr Groves thanked people who had left messages on social media sites in praise of her.

"That's what's getting us through," he said. "All the family thanks all of them very, very sincerely for making the effort and expressing their views."

Tom Groves was critical of the behaviour of some national newspaper journalists over their attempts to obtain information from the family.

Only Guernsey media were invited to the press conference.

Addressing the investigation, he said: "We hope that the right process will be followed and that justice can be done and seen to be done."

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