Mother of murdered Scarlett Keeling in new fight for justice
THE mother of a teenager who was raped and murdered in India is calling on Torridge and West Devon's MP Geoffrey Cox to help bring those responsible to justice.
The body of 15-year-old Scarlett Keeling was found partially naked on a beach in Goa in 2008.
The former pupil of the Small School in Hartland was on a six-month-long trip to the country with her family at the time.
Now nearly five years later the Goan authorities have still not convicted anyone for Scarlett's murder leaving her mother Fiona MacKeown increasingly desperate to see those responsible brought to justice.
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Miss MacKeown, who lives near Bradworthy, is keen to meet Mr Cox so they together can put pressure on the foreign office to in turn put pressure on the Indian authorities to move the trial forward.
She said: "I want to ask for another investigation to take place. The prosecution walked out two years ago and now there is just nothing being done.
"There has been so much pressure put on the Indian authorities over the Delhi gang rape and Scarlett's case should be treated no differently.
"It is ridiculous the trial has just been put on hold for two years.
"They think if they leave it long enough I will simply forget about it. Of course I won't, I will fight for Scarlett.
"There are plenty of people out there who know exactly what happened, the authorities are corrupt and the police have a big role in Scarlett's death.
"The whole situation just makes you feel totally hopeless and useless."
Miss MacKeown is no stranger to fighting for justice over her daughter's murder.
She fought the authorities to prove Scarlett had been murdered rather than their initial belief that she had drowned, by highlighting the marks on her body.
A month after Scarlett's death Samson D'Souza and Placido Carvalho were charged in connection with the killing.
The pair are accused of culpable homicide, grievous sexual assault and destroying evidence. Both defendants have denied the charges.
Miss MacKeown would like to go back to Goa to put further pressure on the authorities herself but she said she has not been back for the past two years due to a lack of money.
Mr Cox said he hoped to take Miss MacKeown to meet the foreign office ministers who are involved in the case.
He said: "I have been in regular touch with the foreign office about this since 2008.
"The fact is there is very little the foreign office can do.
"Just in the same way we wouldn't like it if another country was trying to interfere with our justice system the Indian authorities don't like it.
"We just have to keep gently applying pressure. I have been given assurances that the Government is taking as many opportunities to apply the pressure.
"If the Government is too heavy handed that is going to be counter productive.
"What was done was an appalling crime and the subject has not been dropped.
"I am going to arrange a follow up meeting with the foreign office and I am satisfied that pressure is being applied where possible."