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Goa police accused of blunders in backpacker death probe





  • Danielle McLaughlin's body was found naked in a pool of blood in a field in southern Goa on Tuesday morning
  • The 28-year-old, who lived in Liverpool, had been at a Holi celebration on Palolem beach on Monday night
  • Her naked body was found by a farmer in a pool of blood four miles away sparking a murder investigation
  • Suspect named as Vikat Bhagat, who police say is a known thief, has been arrested and 'made a confession'
  • Ms McLaughlin's mother, Andrea Brannigan, said that her daughter will be 'sadly missed' following her death
  • Police in Goa have come under fire after friends of Danielle claimed they had made a series of blunders

By Taniya Dutta In Goa and Julian Robinson for MailOnline

Published: 07:37 EDT, 17 March 2017 | Updated: 08:15 EDT, 17 March 2017

Indian police have been slammed over their investigation into British backpacker Danielle McLaughlin's rape and murder amid claims they have made a series of blunders.

Friends of the 28-year-old, who lived in Liverpool, have told how they watched dozens of people trample over the crime scene after her body was found stripped and battered on Tuesday morning.

One friend said she saw 30 or more men standing next to her body taking photos and watching. 

It has also emerged that friends were put in the same room as the main suspect, Vikat Bhagat, who had confessed to the crime, to identify him. And there is also surprise that Bhagat was free despite having a long criminal record.

Families of British girls Scarlett Keeling and Sarah Groves, murdered in India, have previously hit out at authorities bungling the case and the length of time that has been taken to get justice in their cases.

Indian police are facing criticism over their investigation into British backpacker Danielle McLaughlin's rape and murder amid claims they made a series of blunders. They are pictured today taking suspect Vikat Bhagat into a police station after medical tests at Goa Medical College Indian police are facing criticism over their investigation into British backpacker Danielle McLaughlin's rape and murder amid claims they made a series of blunders. They are pictured today taking suspect Vikat Bhagat into a police station after medical tests at Goa Medical College

Indian police are facing criticism over their investigation into British backpacker Danielle McLaughlin's rape and murder amid claims they made a series of blunders. They are pictured today taking suspect Vikat Bhagat into a police station after medical tests at Goa Medical College

Danielle McLaughlin, 28, is pictured playing guitar in Kasol town during her first visit to Himachal Pradesh, northern India in March, 2016 Danielle McLaughlin, 28, is pictured playing guitar in Kasol town during her first visit to Himachal Pradesh, northern India in March, 2016

Danielle McLaughlin, 28, is pictured playing guitar in Kasol town during her first visit to Himachal Pradesh, northern India in March, 2016

Friends of Danielle say they were put in the same room as the main suspect Vikat Bhagat, who had confessed to the crime, to identify him. He is pictured with a hood over his head being escorted by police in Goa today Friends of Danielle say they were put in the same room as the main suspect Vikat Bhagat, who had confessed to the crime, to identify him. He is pictured with a hood over his head being escorted by police in Goa today

Friends of Danielle say they were put in the same room as the main suspect Vikat Bhagat, who had confessed to the crime, to identify him. He is pictured with a hood over his head being escorted by police in Goa today

There is also surprise that Bhagat (pictured being led into a police station today) was free despite having a long criminal record There is also surprise that Bhagat (pictured being led into a police station today) was free despite having a long criminal record

There is also surprise that Bhagat (pictured being led into a police station today) was free despite having a long criminal record

Friends of the 28-year-old, who lived in Liverpool, have told how they watched dozens of people trample over the crime scene after her body was found stripped and battered on Tuesday morning. Police are pictured investigating at the scene on Tuesday Friends of the 28-year-old, who lived in Liverpool, have told how they watched dozens of people trample over the crime scene after her body was found stripped and battered on Tuesday morning. Police are pictured investigating at the scene on Tuesday

Friends of the 28-year-old, who lived in Liverpool, have told how they watched dozens of people trample over the crime scene after her body was found stripped and battered on Tuesday morning. Police are pictured investigating at the scene on Tuesday

Danielle's friends have now set up a Facebook page - Justice for Danielle McLoughlin - calling for the death penalty in the case.

Saskia Gall was one of her friends who had to identify the body but she was also asked to ID the suspect in his cell.

She also questioned police activity at the crime scene, adding: 'We went out to the field and there were about 30 or more men standing next to the body taking photos and watching.'

A friend added: 'The girls who brought her down to Palolem from Agonda. They had to go and identify the body and so on. They also had an opportunity to identify the suspect and the police put him in the same room with all the girls, like 24 hours after. It is an awful situation to be in.

'Also Bhagat seems to have a criminal record as long as my arm - how can he be free after all the things he is said to have done.'

There was also shock that pictures of Danielle's battered body were leaked to the media in the hours after her death with some put up online. They have not been used by MailOnline.

Police have denied mishandling the case.

Sammy Tavares, Deputy Superintendent of Police said: 'There is no question of polluting the crime scene. We always sanitise the area of crime. We call the crime scene experts and forensics.

Danielle McLaughlin with an Indian tribal woman  at  Haridwar during her first visit to Uttarakhand, India, i March, 2016 Danielle McLaughlin with an Indian tribal woman  at  Haridwar during her first visit to Uttarakhand, India, i March, 2016
Vikat Bhagat, 23, is pictured with his head covered after being arrested over Danielle's murder Vikat Bhagat, 23, is pictured with his head covered after being arrested over Danielle's murder

Suspect Vikat Bhagat, 23, is pictured with his head covered on Thursday after being arrested over Danielle's murder. Her friends have told how she fell in love with India during her first trip to the country last year (left)

On Thursday, police confirmed Danielle's post mortem had been completed as they held Bhagat (pictured) in custody. Deputy Superintendent Sammy Tavares, from Canacona Police Station, said  results confirm cause of death was by strangulation and injuries to the head On Thursday, police confirmed Danielle's post mortem had been completed as they held Bhagat (pictured) in custody. Deputy Superintendent Sammy Tavares, from Canacona Police Station, said  results confirm cause of death was by strangulation and injuries to the head

On Thursday, police confirmed Danielle's post mortem had been completed as they held Bhagat (pictured) in custody. Deputy Superintendent Sammy Tavares, from Canacona Police Station, said results confirm cause of death was by strangulation and injuries to the head

Danielle McLaughlin's body is now set to be returned to home with friends arriving tonight. A page from her passport is pictured above Danielle McLaughlin's body is now set to be returned to home with friends arriving tonight. A page from her passport is pictured above

Danielle McLaughlin's body is now set to be returned to home with friends arriving tonight. A page from her passport is pictured above

'But in this case it might have taken a couple of hours for the team to turn up. So I am not sure what happened in between.

'The police did not release those pictures of the victim. They must have been circulated by the media or something

'The accused was identified by some witnesses, but it was done with due diligence. I don't have reports that witnesses and accused were brought face to face with each other. '

Danielle's body is now set to be returned to home with friends arriving tonight.

He added: 'We have informed the embassy and her friends are expected to reach by this evening or tomorrow morning from the UK to get her body. Her mother is not coming. There were at least 15 cases of theft against and petty crime against Vikat.

'She was with him (Vikat) only all the time. They were last seen at Green Park Resort. They drank there and then hopped to some other pubs.

'They were not in any relationship and we cannot confirm if they were physically involved before. But the accused said he felt an urge to have sex with her and confessed to raping. But because she was struggling he attacked her head with a beer bottle and she died instantly.

'He was apparently helping her with a stay at Palolem where she had come a day before for Holi celebrations. We have spoken with all the resort owners where she was seen the day. There were some four other friends of the accused but they don't seem to have been involved.

Suspect Vikat Bhagat Suspect Vikat Bhagat
Danielle McLaughlin, 28, in Kasol town during her first visit to India Danielle McLaughlin, 28, in Kasol town during her first visit to India

Two pathologists on Thursday revealed that Danielle (right) had died as a result of a compression of the neck and their report has been passed to police. Suspect Vikat Bhagat is pictured (left)

Danielle is pictured during a walk in the mountains at Kasol town during her first visit to Himachal Pradesh, northern India in March, 2016 Danielle is pictured during a walk in the mountains at Kasol town during her first visit to Himachal Pradesh, northern India in March, 2016

Danielle is pictured during a walk in the mountains at Kasol town during her first visit to Himachal Pradesh, northern India in March, 2016

'The victim and Vikat did not have a brawl as such. He tried to force himself onto her and he raped her. But as she struggled he hit her and she must also have fought back.

'We have the post-mortem report and the accused has confessed to the crime as well. We will continue collecting evidence and then file a charge sheet at the right time.'

Last night, pictures emerged of the suspect being escorted to a police station with a bag over his head, as authorities confirmed the 28-year-old backpacker was raped before her death. 

Bhagat, 23, confessed to the killing, saying he sexually assaulted Ms McLaughlin before disfiguring her face with a beer bottle Bhagat, 23, confessed to the killing, saying he sexually assaulted Ms McLaughlin before disfiguring her face with a beer bottle

Bhagat, 23, confessed to the killing, saying he sexually assaulted Ms McLaughlin before disfiguring her face with a beer bottle

Danielle was found in a pool of blood on Tuesday morning after she had attended Holi celebrations at Palolem beach. Her killer reportedly sexually assaulted her and 'disfigured' her face with a beer bottle. 

Witnesses who were with Danielle the night before she was found dead have since revealed she was pulled away from them by five locals she said she knew who told her: 'You're with us, remember?'  

It comes as chilling CCTV footage emerged showing the final movements of 28-year-old Danielle - and a man believed to be Bhagat following her down a road.

The night before she died, Danielle had met some British tourists at Palolem. 

One of them, Dave Woodruff, 37, said she was 'free-spirited' and 'really interesting' but that a group of about five local men 'would pull her back and say, 'You're with us, remember?'.'

He told The Guardian, that Danielle shrugged off the instructions and revealed she had met one of them a year earlier and that he was going to help her find accommodation at the beach.

Later, at about 9pm, Mr Woodruff and two other friends asked if she wanted to go swimming.  

'She said, 'Yeah, give me two minutes. I just need to talk to my friends', referring to the group of men,' Mr Woodruff said.

But when he returned close to 9.40pm both Danielle  and the men had disappeared.

A post mortem on Danielle has revealed that she was strangled to death later that night and it also confirmed she had been sexually assaulted. Two pathologists revealed that she had died as a result of a compression of the neck and their report has been passed to police. 

Danielle McLaughlin, 28, (showing the victory sign) is pictured with her friend Rishabh Surana, 29, (playing the flute) at his office in Kolkata, India in March, 2016 Danielle McLaughlin, 28, (showing the victory sign) is pictured with her friend Rishabh Surana, 29, (playing the flute) at his office in Kolkata, India in March, 2016

Danielle McLaughlin, 28, (showing the victory sign) is pictured with her friend Rishabh Surana, 29, (playing the flute) at his office in Kolkata, India in March, 2016

CCTV video has emerged showing the final movements of British tourist Danielle McLaughlin (left) before she was brutally raped and murdered in an Indian holiday resort CCTV video has emerged showing the final movements of British tourist Danielle McLaughlin (left) before she was brutally raped and murdered in an Indian holiday resort
CCTV video has emerged showing the final movements of British tourist Danielle McLaughlin (left) before she was brutally raped and murdered in an Indian holiday resort CCTV video has emerged showing the final movements of British tourist Danielle McLaughlin (left) before she was brutally raped and murdered in an Indian holiday resort

CCTV video has emerged showing the final movements of British tourist Danielle McLaughlin (left in both pictures) before she was brutally raped and murdered in an Indian holiday resort

Danielle McLaughlin (left) was seen carrying a bag and walking along a road in Goa with an unknown man behind her in the grainy footage Danielle McLaughlin (left) was seen carrying a bag and walking along a road in Goa with an unknown man behind her in the grainy footage
Danielle McLaughlin (left) was seen carrying a bag and walking along a road in Goa with an unknown man behind her in the grainy footage Danielle McLaughlin (left) was seen carrying a bag and walking along a road in Goa with an unknown man behind her in the grainy footage

Danielle McLaughlin (left in both pictures) was seen carrying a bag and walking along a road in Goa with an unknown man behind her in the grainy footage 

Ms. McLaughlin, who is thought to have lived in Liverpool, had just arrived from the north of the state and had been seen out and about at a party on Monday night at nearby Palolem beach, popular with Western tourists Ms. McLaughlin, who is thought to have lived in Liverpool, had just arrived from the north of the state and had been seen out and about at a party on Monday night at nearby Palolem beach, popular with Western tourists
A local man named as Vikat Bhagat has been arrested A local man named as Vikat Bhagat has been arrested

Ms McLaughlin (left), who is thought to have lived in Liverpool, had just arrived from the north of the state and had been seen out and about at a party on Monday night at nearby Palolem beach, popular with Western tourists. A local man named as Vikat Bhagat (right) has been arrested

Her family will then be able to take her body home which is currently being sorted by the British Consulate.

Sammy Tavares, the Deputy Superintendent of Police said: 'She died of compression of neck and suffered cranial cerebral damage. There was also wounds showing there was rape. She suffered grave injuries to her head and face and died.'  

It comes as it emerged that Ms McLaughlin may have met her alleged killer a year ago and amid claims he told police he was not alone when the backpacker was killed. Officers are now understood to be quizzing three other suspects.

Backpacker Ms McLauilin, who arrived in Goa on February 23, had been at Agonda beach and Patnem beach with friends during her first fortnight in the state.

On Monday night she celebrated the Holi festival at nearby Palolem beach, popular with Western tourists.

Her badly beaten body was discovered by a farmer at Deobag Beach about four miles away on Tuesday morning. She had suffered extensive injuries to her face and head.

Police have arrested Bhagat, a convicted criminal, and he has reportedly confessed, saying he disfigured her with a beer bottle so people would not be able to identify her. 

Yesterday it emerged that Bhagat has told police that he was friends with Danielle and the pair had first met on her previous visit a year ago.

Sammy Taveres, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Canacona, said: 'We are waiting for the post-mortem report and expecting it to come up by this evening. There were some formalities with the Embassy but a team of doctors are on it. It is underway at the moment.

'We suspect Vikat tried to sexually assault her as he has injury marks on groin area and thighs. They do not look like nail marks but they are deep cuts.  

Ms McLaughlin's badly beaten body was discovered by a farmer at Deobag Beach about four miles away on Tuesday morning Ms McLaughlin's badly beaten body was discovered by a farmer at Deobag Beach about four miles away on Tuesday morning
She had suffered extensive injuries to her face and head She had suffered extensive injuries to her face and head

Ms McLaughlin's badly beaten body was discovered by a farmer at Deobag Beach about four miles away on Tuesday morning. She had suffered extensive injuries to her face and head

At the vigil on Wednesday night, 200 local and foreign nationals gathered with flowers to pay tribute to Ms McLaughlin in Goa At the vigil on Wednesday night, 200 local and foreign nationals gathered with flowers to pay tribute to Ms McLaughlin in Goa

At the vigil on Wednesday night, 200 local and foreign nationals gathered with flowers to pay tribute to Ms McLaughlin in Goa

A 28-year-old, named by police as Danielle McLaughlin (pictured), was found naked in a pool of blood in a field yesterday morning after attending Holi celebrations in the Canacona area of southern Goa, India A 28-year-old, named by police as Danielle McLaughlin (pictured), was found naked in a pool of blood in a field yesterday morning after attending Holi celebrations in the Canacona area of southern Goa, India
A 28-year-old, named by police as Danielle McLaughlin (pictured), was found naked in a pool of blood in a field yesterday morning after attending Holi celebrations in the Canacona area of southern Goa, India A 28-year-old, named by police as Danielle McLaughlin (pictured), was found naked in a pool of blood in a field yesterday morning after attending Holi celebrations in the Canacona area of southern Goa, India

A 28-year-old, named by police as Danielle McLaughlin (pictured), was found naked in a pool of blood in a field on Tuesday morning after attending Holi celebrations in the Canacona area of southern Goa, India

Floral tributes are left on Deobag beach in Goa, India where Danielle McLaughlin was found dead. On Wednesday, hundreds gathered to pay tribute to the 28-year-old Floral tributes are left on Deobag beach in Goa, India where Danielle McLaughlin was found dead. On Wednesday, hundreds gathered to pay tribute to the 28-year-old

Floral tributes are left on Deobag beach in Goa, India where Danielle McLaughlin was found dead. On Wednesday, hundreds gathered to pay tribute to the 28-year-old

Danielle McLaughlin, 28, was found naked in a pool of blood yesterday morning after attending Holi celebrations in southern Goa. A picture of the backpacker is seen today at the spot where she was found Danielle McLaughlin, 28, was found naked in a pool of blood yesterday morning after attending Holi celebrations in southern Goa. A picture of the backpacker is seen today at the spot where she was found

Danielle McLaughlin, 28, was found naked in a pool of blood yesterday morning after attending Holi celebrations in southern Goa. A picture of the backpacker is seen today at the spot where she was found

The Ourem Shack in the Agonda festival village, Goa, India where Danielle McLaughlin was staying before she was murdered The Ourem Shack in the Agonda festival village, Goa, India where Danielle McLaughlin was staying before she was murdered
The Ourem Shack in the Agonda festival village, Goa, India where Danielle McLaughlin was staying before she was murdered The Ourem Shack in the Agonda festival village, Goa, India where Danielle McLaughlin was staying before she was murdered

The Ourem Shack in the Agonda festival village, Goa, India where Danielle McLaughlin was staying before she was murdered

'It seems the deceased struggled to get off his grip. But we cannot tell you anything until the post-mortem report is out. Only the report would confirm if she was raped or sexually assaulted.

'We are still interrogating Vikat. He has been maintaining that he killed her with a broken beer bottle but not speaking up further. 

'He is not telling the reason for the murder. We also found the shards of the same near her body at the crime spot. But it is unclear if they were drinking together.

'Vikat has told us that they knew each other as Danielle had visited Goa last year and became friends with him. But she used to call him brother. They would hang out but had never gone out of the area (Canacona) together. It was more like a local knowing a foreigner. 

'We are yet finding out where all she had gone before the incident and who all were with her. Vikat had tried to name a few men before but later said he was all alone with her before her last. We are investigating all angles and interrogating suspects. She was not with any foreigner the day before, this we know.' 

In further police interviews, Bhagat has reportedly revealed that he was not alone when Danielle was killed. Police are now quizzing three other suspects.

Danielle arrived in Goa on February 23 and stayed at Arambol beach in Pernem, northern Goa, but she left for Cancona last Sunday with a British friend. 

A floral tribute in the shape of a heart is left at the murder scene earlier this week. Hundreds have come to the secluded spot to pay their respects A floral tribute in the shape of a heart is left at the murder scene earlier this week. Hundreds have come to the secluded spot to pay their respects

A floral tribute in the shape of a heart is left at the murder scene earlier this week. Hundreds have come to the secluded spot to pay their respects

Officers from Canacona police station (pictured yesterday) are investigating the murder and rape of the British backpacker Officers from Canacona police station (pictured yesterday) are investigating the murder and rape of the British backpacker

Officers from Canacona police station (pictured yesterday) are investigating the murder and rape of the British backpacker

Police said this morning that they had arrested a suspect named as Vikat Bhagat (pictured) who they said was a petty thief. He is said to have made a confession Police said this morning that they had arrested a suspect named as Vikat Bhagat (pictured) who they said was a petty thief. He is said to have made a confession
Police said this morning that they had arrested a suspect named as Vikat Bhagat (pictured) who they said was a petty thief. He is said to have made a confession Police said this morning that they had arrested a suspect named as Vikat Bhagat (pictured) who they said was a petty thief. He is said to have made a confession

Police revealed earlier this week that they had arrested a suspect named as Vikat Bhagat (pictured) who they said was a petty thief. He is said to have made a confession, saying he sexually assaulted Ms McLaughlin and disfigured her face with a beer bottle

She checked into a hotel in Agonda and on Monday is understood to have left the friend at about 1pm to meet friends from a previous visit to Goa – believed to be Bhagat.

As they moved around the Palolem beach area, they went to a beach bar which was holding a party to celebrate the Holi festival where they began drinking.

It is claimed the pair even had a row with a bar owner at about 9.30pm as they bought bottles of beer. They were then seen leaving together on Bhagat's scooter.

After her body was found, police were told by other party goers that Bhagat had been spotted with her and when they found the footage of the pair, they arrested him. They then reportedly found her clothes packed in a bag dumped near Bhagat's home. 

She had been at the La La Land restaurant in the Dreamcatcher resort at about 5.30pm on Monday afternoon and was reportedly seen sitting with two or three men and was not drinking.

A local said: 'We didn't pay her much attention as it is a common sight to see foreigners with Indian men. The area is very popular with tourists.'

But she is believed to have then left with Bhagat and drank at several bars before reportedly heading to the Leopard Valley nightclub.  

On February 22 Ms McLaughlin revealed she was 'off on another adventure' to Goa.

She wrote: '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 28-year-old's body was discovered by a farmer about four miles away from Palolem beach on Tuesday morning The 28-year-old's body was discovered by a farmer about four miles away from Palolem beach on Tuesday morning

The 28-year-old's body was discovered by a farmer about four miles away from Palolem beach on Tuesday morning

Deputy Superintendent of Police Sammy Tavares said that officers had arrested Vikat Bhagat (pictured) and that 'he has confessed to raping the victim and later killing her in order to hide his identity' Deputy Superintendent of Police Sammy Tavares said that officers had arrested Vikat Bhagat (pictured) and that 'he has confessed to raping the victim and later killing her in order to hide his identity'
Deputy Superintendent of Police Sammy Tavares said that officers had arrested Vikat Bhagat (pictured) and that 'he has confessed to raping the victim and later killing her in order to hide his identity' Deputy Superintendent of Police Sammy Tavares said that officers had arrested Vikat Bhagat (pictured) and that 'he has confessed to raping the victim and later killing her in order to hide his identity'

Deputy Superintendent of Police Sammy Tavares said that officers had arrested Vikat Bhagat (pictured) and that 'he has confessed to raping the victim and later killing her in order to hide his identity'

Ms McLaughlin's Facebook profile says she had studied at Liverpool John Moores University and was from Buncrana in Ireland. She is pictured, centre, with some children during one trip abroad Ms McLaughlin's Facebook profile says she had studied at Liverpool John Moores University and was from Buncrana in Ireland. She is pictured, centre, with some children during one trip abroad

Ms McLaughlin's Facebook profile says she had studied at Liverpool John Moores University and was from Buncrana in Ireland. She is pictured, centre, with some children during one trip abroad

About 200 mourners attended a vigil on Wednesday night to mourn McLaughlin, as her mother, Andrea Brannigan, said she would be 'sadly missed' About 200 mourners attended a vigil on Wednesday night to mourn McLaughlin, as her mother, Andrea Brannigan, said she would be 'sadly missed'

About 200 mourners attended a vigil on Wednesday night to mourn McLaughlin, as her mother, Andrea Brannigan, said she would be 'sadly missed'

Under the same post earlier this week, which included a sunset landscape picture, a friend wrote: 'Beautiful sunset for a beautiful soul'.

Her mother, Andrea Brannigan, said last night her daughter would be 'sadly missed' as 200 locals and foreign nationals gathered in Goa to pay tribute to Ms McLaughlin.   

On Wednesday. 200 local and foreign nationals attended a vigil to pay tribute to the backpacker.

The same day, it emerged that Bhagat was arrested in March 2014 for targeting foreigners in a string of burglaries in the area.

One British holidaymaker revealed a thief had sneaked into their holiday villa through a balcony and taken a laptop, two mobile phones and a portable hard drive worth around £1,620.

Another told how he had taken a laptop, camera, mobile phone and CDs worth more than £1,100.

FARMER WHO FOUND DANIELLE'S BODY 'RESCUED A FOREIGNER FROM THROUGH SAME FIELD IN 2015'

A farmer who found the body of a British backpacker in a field in Goa on Tuesday has told how he rescued a foreigner running through the same field two years ago.

Prashant Kumar Pant, 50, was checking his land on Tuesday morning when he found Danielle McLaughlin's body.

He said: 'I've felt very scared since. I haven't slept very well. I can no longer pass the area where the girl was found. I take a different route through my fields now.'

Prashant said the area where the body was found was littered with empty crisp packets and empty bottles of Kingfisher beer.

He also said there was evidence of urine and feaces nearby, which officers took away for testing.

'There were many things around her,' he said. 'The police searched the area and took it all away. There was also a gold locket near her too.'

But Prashant, who owns a coconut and cashew nut plantation, remembered finding a crying young girl aged around 18-years-old running through his field two years ago.

'I was checking my fields for cattle again that time,' he said. 'When I saw this girl crying and running. I went to help her and she looked like she was on drugs. She was white but I don't know which country she was from. I called my relative as I didn't know what to do and she called the police. The police came and took her away.

'It saddens me that such things happen near my home. This is a lovely area but we have these tragic events that change our home town.' 

Following the reported crimes, police watched the flats and caught Bhagat who had been found guilty of seven previous offences.

A worker at the Dreamcatcher resort where Danielle had reportedly visited the day before her murder said he knew of the arrested man and that he was 'the biggest thief of the area.'

'He steals from foreigners only - break into their rooms and loot everything. He scares outsiders who have set up their business here. He is a powerful person, by powerful I mean he scares people using weapon. He is a nuisance for the society.' 

Detectives had earlier said they had questioned up to 15 people over the killing of Ms McLaughlin, who was travelling under a British passport.   

Heartbroken friends of the 28-year-old backpacker (above in a Facebook picture) say she 'added happiness' to the world Heartbroken friends of the 28-year-old backpacker (above in a Facebook picture) say she 'added happiness' to the world

Heartbroken friends of the 28-year-old backpacker (above in a Facebook picture) say she 'added happiness' to the world

It is thought Ms McLaughlin (pictured) who had a tattoo saying 'Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery', lived in Liverpool, but may have been born in Ireland It is thought Ms McLaughlin (pictured) who had a tattoo saying 'Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery', lived in Liverpool, but may have been born in Ireland
It is thought Ms McLaughlin (pictured) who had a tattoo saying 'Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery', lived in Liverpool, but may have been born in Ireland It is thought Ms McLaughlin (pictured) who had a tattoo saying 'Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery', lived in Liverpool, but may have been born in Ireland

It is thought Ms McLaughlin (pictured) who had a tattoo saying 'Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery', lived in Liverpool, but may have been born in Ireland

THE LEAD UP TO VIKAT BHAGAT'S ARREST

At 8.20am on Tuesday, police received information from Prashand Komarpant in Palolem, Canacona, about a body for a foreign female in an open field in Devabag, about 150m from a road leading from Canacona to Agonda.

The woman had injuries on her face and head when her body was discovered. The body was identified as Danielle Mclaughlin by foreigners.

She had arrived in Goa on February 23 and was staying in Arambol, but she had travelled to Festival Valley with a British friend on March 12 to stay with other foreigner friends over night.

At about 1pm on March 13, Ms McLaughlin left Festival Valley and went to Palolem, where she was seen with 23-year-old Vikat Bhagat in Waddo Canacona. The pair were seen together on CCTV near a restaurant in Ourem.

Miss McLaughlin was last seen with Bhagat at about 9.30pm on March 13, and was found dead the next day.

Bhagat was arrested on March 14 at 3.10pm. His scooter allegedly had blood stains on it, as did his clothes.

During a medical examination, officials found Bhagat had nail wounds.

Bhagat has since confessed to killing Ms McLaughlin, saying he sexually assaulted her and disfigured her face with a beer bottle.

Police are studying the CCTV footage of all the shacks the victim visited on Monday night, and are working with teams of sniffer dogs and forensic teams. 

Ms McLaughlin, who had a tattoo saying 'Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery', was born in Glasgow but grew up in County Donegal.

Her Facebook profile says she had studied at Liverpool John Moores University. A spokesman said: 'The University is shocked and saddened to hear of the death of one of our former students, Danielle McLaughlin.

'We send our sincere condolences to her family and friends from all at LJMU.'

In early February Ms McLaughlin posted a thank you to her friends for wishing her a happy birthday.  

Police said this morning that they had arrested a man called Vikat Bhagat and that he had made a confession. Ms McLaughlin is pictured left with a friend Police said this morning that they had arrested a man called Vikat Bhagat and that he had made a confession. Ms McLaughlin is pictured left with a friend

Police said this morning that they had arrested a man called Vikat Bhagat and that he had made a confession. Ms McLaughlin is pictured left with a friend

The victim's badly beaten body was discovered by a farmer at Devbag Beach (pictured) about four miles away on Tuesday morning. She had suffered extensive injuries to her face. The victim's badly beaten body was discovered by a farmer at Devbag Beach (pictured) about four miles away on Tuesday morning. She had suffered extensive injuries to her face.

The victim's badly beaten body was discovered by a farmer at Devbag Beach (pictured) about four miles away on Tuesday morning. She had suffered extensive injuries to her face.

In a heartbreaking post on Facebook written just days ago on February 22, Ms McLaughlin revealed how she was 'off on another adventure' to Goa In a heartbreaking post on Facebook written just days ago on February 22, Ms McLaughlin revealed how she was 'off on another adventure' to Goa

In a heartbreaking post on Facebook written just days ago on February 22, Ms McLaughlin revealed how she was 'off on another adventure' to Goa

Ms McLaughlin had just arrived with a friend from the north of the state so they could celebrate Holi (file picture), a spring festival famous for crowds of people throwing paint - and held to celebrate the triumph of good over evil Ms McLaughlin had just arrived with a friend from the north of the state so they could celebrate Holi (file picture), a spring festival famous for crowds of people throwing paint - and held to celebrate the triumph of good over evil

Ms McLaughlin had just arrived with a friend from the north of the state so they could celebrate Holi (file picture), a spring festival famous for crowds of people throwing paint - and held to celebrate the triumph of good over evil

'Thanks for all the birthday love. It was filled with dancing, dinners and family time. Very grateful for all the beautiful pals I have accumulated in life,' she wrote.

Christy Duffy, a close friend of Ms McLaughlin's from Buncrana, Donegal, has already raised several thousand euro on a fundraising website to help pay for the funeral and repatriation costs.

'There's not really much anyone can say at the moment as I know we are all completely devastated,' he said.

'There is nothing I need to say about Danielle as anyone who knew her, knew that she was a beautiful and kind-hearted, funny young lady who loved life and was a loyal and devoted friend, sister and daughter.

'They say the brightest stars burn the quickest and no other analogy could describe Danielle's life better.'

Mr Duffy said the Irish embassy, the British embassy, the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust and many close friends are working hard on the arrangements to bring Ms McLaughlin's body home.

'The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust have been brilliant and cover most arrangements and expenses, so basically this fundraiser is to help her family with the added costs of having someone with her when she returns and to give her the send-off she deserves,' he said. 

Another Friend Candice Faulkner, who grew up with Danielle in the small town of Buncrana said on Facebook: 'We are in shock. Danielle was an amazing person with so much adventure in front of her. Our small town is devastated.' 

MYSTERIOUS DEATHS HAVE  BLIGHTED BEACH HAVEN

British schoolgirl Scarlett Keeling was found dead in Anjuna in mysterious circumstances in 2008 British schoolgirl Scarlett Keeling was found dead in Anjuna in mysterious circumstances in 2008

British schoolgirl Scarlett Keeling was found dead in Anjuna in mysterious circumstances in 2008

It is one of India's top tourism destinations with mill

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