Danielle McLaughlin murder: CCTV footage emerges of final movements

Media captionDanielle McLaughlin murder: CCTV footage emerges of final movements

CCTV footage has emerged of the final movements of a Donegal woman murdered in the southern Indian state of Goa.

Danielle McLaughlin’s body was discovered in an open field close to tourist resorts in Canacona on Tuesday.

A 24-year-old man, whose name has been reported as Vikat Bhagat, was arrested later. He appeared in court in India on Wednesday charged with her murder.

The CCTV footage shows Ms McLaughlin walking along a street with Mr Bhagat, police have said.

An officer involved with the investigation told the BBC that they believe they have caught the “main culprit” and he has “confessed”.

Police have also seized a two-wheeled vehicle and some clothes, which are reported to have bloodstains on them.

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McLaughlin family

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Danielle McLaughlin was described as “happy-go-lucky”

Ms McLaughlin grew up in Buncrana, County Donegal, in the Republic of Ireland. She was an Irish national holding a British passport and had travelled to India in February.

Her mother, Andrea Brannigan, said she 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 28-year-old daughter.

She also thanked the Irish and British consulates for their support.

‘Justice for Danielle’: Yogita Limaye, BBC News, Goa

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People in Goa have been shaken up by the murder

On Wednesday evening, locals held a vigil at the spot where Danielle’s body was found. A big green banner laid out on the ground reads “Justice for Danielle”. Photos of her, flowers, and candles have been laid out near it.

It’s a big open field, just 200m from the busy highway that connects the north and south of the state, and less than 2km (1.2 miles) from Palolem, one of the most popular beaches in south Goa.

People in the state have been shaken up by the murder. Goa is very popular with foreign tourists who come here for beach holidays and some are worried its image could be dented.

They are still questioning the suspect to find out if he was acting alone or if there might have been others involved. Police say they have not yet been able to locate Danielle’s passport.

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Getty Images

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Ms McLaughlin was travelling through Goa

Police believe that Ms McLaughlin was sexually assaulted and a post-mortem examination has taken place to establish whether that is the case. She had injuries on her face and head.

Ms McLaughlin’s body was identified with the help of some foreign tourists and with information from social networking websites.

Fr Francis Bradley from St Mary’s Church in Buncrana, who visited the McLaughlin family on Wednesday morning, described the death as an “immense loss”.

He said Ms McLaughlin’s mother had now lost her eldest child having lost her youngest child, husband and father in recent years.

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She lived in Buncrana before attending university in Liverpool

Fr Bradley described Ms McLaughlin as a “happy-go-lucky” girl who loved to travel.

“I met the young lady in question a few months ago at the time that her grandfather was gravely ill and she was very close to her grandfather, who subsequently died.

“She seemed a happy-go-lucky, friendly, quiet girl.

“To find that there could be malice or something very sinister involved in the way in which someone died is particularly disturbing and has its own challenge that we, as a community, will have to face.”

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Her body was found near a beach in Canacona

Ms McLaughlin went to Buncrana’s Irish language school, Scoil Mhuire.

The school principal, Rosaleen Grant, said teachers and pupils alike were “just utterly shattered and devastated”.

“She was a very confident, sociable, outgoing girl of a very caring nature,” said Ms Grant.

“A number of the staff would have known her really well, so it’s just the sense of loss and the fact she’s so far from home makes it so tragic.

“She loved taking part in school musicals, she did Irish dancing, she was involved in sports and athletics. She was just an all-rounder really.”

Liverpool John Moores University said it was “shocked and saddened” to hear of the death of one of its former students.

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.”

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