Scarlett Keeling: Funeral of teenager murdered in Goa

Scarlett Keeling service sheet Scarlett was on a six-month "trip of a lifetime" with her family when she died

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A British teenager who was raped and killed in India more than four years ago has been laid to rest.

Scarlett Keeling, 15, from Bideford, Devon, was found dead on Anjuna beach in Goa in February 2008.

Her body had been held in Exeter by the Greater Devon coroner because of the ongoing trial of two men charged over her death.

But, in April, the Goan authorities gave permission for the body to be released to Scarlett's family.

Sibling nightmares

Start Quote

It's lovely to have her here”

End Quote Fiona MacKeown Scarlett's mother

Scarlett was buried in a garden prepared for her on the family's smallholding in a simple ceremony, attended by friends and family on Friday afternoon.

Her body was carried to its resting place by her father, brother and friends.

Some of her poems were read out as tributes.

Talking to BBC News in January last year, her mother, Fiona MacKeown, said burying her daughter would finally give the family a sense of closure.

Ms MacKeown said she hoped the funeral would put an end to the nightmares and sleeplessness which continued to affect Scarlett's siblings.

After the ceremony on Friday, Ms MacKeown said it was a relief that the burial could be carried out and it was "lovely to have her here".

She said: "We've waited to all this time to get her back.

"Everybody's been working like ants on her garden, getting it ready for her to come home."

Scarlett would have celebrated her 20th birthday on Sunday.

Scarlett Keeling Scarlett would have celebrated her 20th birthday on 17 June

Her family and friends said they would use the weekend to celebrate her birthday and her life.

Scarlett was on a six-month "trip of a lifetime" with her family when she was killed.

Ms MacKeown had allowed her to stay in Anjuna in the care of a 25-year-old tour guide while the rest of the family went travelling - a decision Ms MacKeown said she "bitterly regretted" with hindsight.

"I was wrong to leave her, but at the time obviously I didn't think so - I thought she was going to be safe."

Trial continues

When Scarlett's body was found, police initially said her death had been an accidental drowning.

However, a second post-mortem examination - held at the insistence of Ms MacKeown - found she had been drugged, raped and killed.

India's Central Bureau of Investigation started a fresh investigation which led to the arrest of two men.

Samson D'Souza, 31, and Placido Carvalho, 43, were charged with sexual assault, outraging modesty and destroying evidence. Both have denied the charges.

The trial at Indian Children's Court in Goa, has been running for more than two years, but has yet to conclude.

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