Cornwall

Halloran Keeling, brother of murdered Scarlett, 'blamed himself for her death'

Halloran Richard Keeling Image copyright facebook
Image caption Hal Keeling "never got over his sister's death", the inquest heard.

The brother of a 15-year-old girl raped and murdered on a beach in Goa in 2008 blamed himself for her death, an inquest has heard.

Halloran Keeling - known as Hal - died in Newquay last August, aged 28.

His sister Scarlett Keeling's body was found on Anjuna beach in 2008, during a six-month "trip of a lifetime".

The Cornwall coroner said Mr Keeling's death was drug related, but it could not be proved if he meant to kill himself.

Scarlett, from north Devon, had been left in the care of her 25-year-old tour guide boyfriend while the rest of her family went travelling.

Goan police initially said Scarlett drowned accidently, but a second post-mortem examination revealed she had numerous injuries and had been drugged and raped before drowning in seawater.

Two men were arrested within weeks and charged with culpable homicide and grievous sexual assault, but both were acquitted last year.

Image copyright Family photograph
Image caption Fifteen-year-old Scarlett was on a six-month "trip of a lifetime" with her family when she was killed

Mr Keeling, the eldest of Fiona MacKeown's nine children, did not to go to India with the rest of the family and was told of his sister's death while he was in hospital in Plymouth recovering from serious injuries sustained when he was knocked down two days before Scarlett died.

Ms MacKeown, 52, said her son could not go because he did not have his passport, and he felt directly responsible for Scarlett's death.

She said he believed he could have protected her from harm if he had been on the trip.

"He was very close to Scarlett - he couldn't have done anything and was not to blame at all, but he didn't accept that," she said.

"He just never got over his sister's death."

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Scarlett's mother said Hal believed he could have protected his sister if he had been in Goa with her

In a written statement to the inquest, she said: "He became depressed around the age of 15 and they prescribed anti-depressants and Valium.

"A year later he was self-medicating with cannabis."

The inquest also heard Mr Keeling took other illicit substances and had been hospitalised for overdosing unintentionally on prescription drugs.

In a statement, psychiatric nurse Susie Theobald told the inquest Mr Keeling had been deeply affected by the death of his sister.

"He had a significant life event trauma when his sister was sexually assaulted and murdered in 2008, she said, adding that he had experienced "physical abuse from his mother's partners from the age of four".

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites