India

Danielle McLaughlin 'raped and strangled' - post mortem

Danielle McLaughlin Image copyright Christy Duffy
Image caption Danielle McLaughlin was described as a 'friendly, quiet girl who loved to travel'

The Irish woman murdered in the Indian state of Goa was raped and strangled, her post-mortem has confirmed.

Danielle McLaughlin, from County Donegal, was found dead in a field close to tourist resorts in Canacona on Tuesday morning. The 28-year-old had travelled to India in February.

Her post mortem concluded that brain damage and constriction of the neck caused her death, police said.

A local man arrested Wednesday will now face rape as well as murder charges.

The 24-year-old accused, whose name has been reported as Vikat Bhagat, appeared in court on Wednesday charged with her murder.

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Media captionDanielle McLaughlin murder: CCTV footage emerges of final movements

Deputy Superintendent Sammy Tavares told local reporters he had confessed to raping and killing the victim.

Police have also obtained CCTV footage which shows Ms McLaughlin walking along a street with the suspect.

Holi festival

Ms McLaughlin had travelled to Goa with a friend from Australia and the women were staying in a beach hut, a Goa police officer told the Associated Press.

The pair had been celebrating Holi - a Hindu spring festival - at a nearby village on Monday evening and Ms McLaughlin left the village late at night, he added.

Her naked body was found the next day in a field less than 2km (1.2 miles) from Palolem, one of the most popular beaches in south Goa.

Some of Danielle McLaughlin's friends are flying to Goa in the hope of accompanying the body home on Friday to Buncrana in County Donegal - a journey that is expected to take up to six days.

Her mother, Andrea Brannigan, said the eldest of her five daughters would be "sadly missed by all".

She said the family were finding it a "difficult and trying time" since receiving the "awful news" about her daughter's death.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ms McLaughlin's body was found in a field near one of Goa's famous beaches

People in the western Indian state have been shaken up by the murder, says the BBC's Yogita Limaye at the scene.

Goa is very popular with foreign tourists who visit for beach holidays and some are worried its image could be dented.

Image caption Locals have been leaving photos, flowers and candles near where Ms McLaughlin's body was found

Last year, an Indian court cleared two men of raping and killing British teenager Scarlett Keeling.

The 15-year-old was found dead on Goa's popular Anjuna beach in 2008, having drowned after allegedly being plied with drugs.

Miss Keeling's mother said her heart sank after hearing of Ms McLaughlin's death.

"It is horrific," Fiona MacKeown said. "My heart breaks for her family and friends.

"I know what they are going through."

Ms McLaughlin had lived in Liverpool and was travelling on a British passport.

Image caption People in Goa have been shaken up by the murder

On Wednesday evening, locals held a vigil at the spot where her body was found.

A big green banner had been laid out on the ground reading "Justice for Danielle".

Photos of her, flowers, and candles were laid out near it.

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