Danielle McLaughlin murder: man admits Goa killing of Irish woman

Buncrana woman (28) discovered dead in Goa was travelling in India using a British passport

Indian police have released CCTV footage, which they say captures the final movements of Donegal woman Danielle McLaughlin before she was murdered in Goa, India

 

Police in India have said a man has admitted the rape and murder of an Irish tourist in the Goa region.

The 28-year-old woman was named locally as Danielle McLaughlin from Buncrana, Co Donegal. Her body was found on Tuesday in Canacona, a district in the south of the state.

“The body was lying in a pool of blood without clothes and there were injuries on the head and face,” Sammy Tavares, the Canacona police deputy superintendent, told local media.

Filomeno Costa, the officer in charge at Canacona police station, said a man had been arrested in connection with the the death. Police said the man, understood to be 24, had confessed to sexually assaulting Ms McLaughlin and killing her “in order to hide his identity”.

Goa police said earlier Ms McLaughlin was found with injuries to her head and face.

Divyam Sugeet, a business owner in the area, said the body was found in a field on the road between the Agonda and Palolem beaches. “I was at the crime scene, it was really horrible,” he said. “The whole community is shaken up.”

Body discovered by a farmer

Local media said the woman had arrived in the area from the north on Sunday and was seen on Monday evening at a party on Palolem beach. Her body was reportedly discovered about 6km away the next morning by a farmer, who informed police.

“Considering the state in which the body was found, and the injuries visible on her face, we concluded that that it was a case of murder,” Mr Costa said.

A statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Ms McLaughlin had travelled to India using a British passport.

An Irish consular official travelled from New Delhi to Goa on Wednesday while the Irish Embassy in India is liaising closely with the British authorities. As the woman was carrying a British passport, the British consulate will take the lead in dealings with the Indian authorities.

Ms McLaughlin grew up in Buncrana, Co Donegal, but recently she had been studying and living in Liverpool. It is understood she grew up with her grandparents and had returned to Buncrana last year when her grandfather died.

Sadly missed

Andrea Brannigan, the victim’s mother, told the Press Association: “The family would like to express our thanks to all who have got in touch since receiving this awful news.

“As you can expect we are finding it very difficult at this trying time. “We want to thank the Irish and British consulates, along with Colin from the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, and many friends who have assisted at this time.

“Danielle will be sadly missed by us all.”

A fund to bring her remains home had raised €15,000 within five hours of being set up on Wednesday. The GoFundMe online appeal can be accessed at: gofundme.com/for-danielle.

On her own Facebook page, dated February 22nd, Ms McLaughlin posted: “Thank you to all my friends and family for making home so special and always looking after me. I am very grateful and the luckiest person I know . . . Off on another adventure . . .” . The post, with a photograph of a sunset, indicated that she was travelling to Goa.

Rosalee Grant, principal at Scoil Mhuire, where Ms McLaughlin went to school, described her past pupil as a “lovely, happy go lucky student”.

“She was a very caring individual. She took part in school musicals, she loved Irish dancing, she also liked athletics and soccer,” she said.

“She was an all rounder. Happy, carefree and caring. She went off to college in Liverpool and then went travelling. “This is a devastating time for her family and the whole town. It’s a big shock for the staff and pupils.

“The staff remember her fondly. She was a student we were very proud of. It is very sad, she was in the prime of her life.”

Fr John Walsh, parish priest, said Ms Brannigan had suffered a number of bereavements, losing her husband two years ago.

“The absolute horror of this girl’s murder has stunned the community,” he said. “We feel for her mother in particular and her siblings.”

Additional reporting PA