Mother of Goa murder victim asks for protection

( AFP ) - The mother of murdered British teen Scarlett Keeling said Sunday she would ask a court in the Indian beach resort state of Goa for protection, saying she feared the local drugs mafia.

A new autopsy report released Saturday suggested the 15-year-old was drowned by attackers who pushed her face into water for five to 10 minutes -- a contradiction of the police version of events.

MacKeown said the findings lent fresh weight to her allegations that links between police officials, politicians and the drugs mafia were continuing to hamper a proper investigation of her daughter's February 18 murder.

But she and her lawyer now fear her accusations against top Goa officials, including a state minister, may put her in harm's way.

"We've been warned by a lot of locals to be careful," MacKeown told AFP on Sunday.

"We've been stirring up a big hornets' nest here. The drug people are not going to be very happy with me. The shack owners are not going to be very happy with me."

The case has already led to the suspension of one police officer, and scores of beach bars have been forced to close early.

Vikram Varma, her lawyer, confirmed that he was preparing to file a request for protection for MacKeown in Goa High Court this week.

Backed by the new findings, MacKeown also plans to ask the court to force local police to hand over the investigation file to federal agents.

"We're going to apply to the High Court to take over the case. I think it's appalling the way it's been handled," said MacKeown.

Goan police this month arrested Samson D'Souza, 29, a bartender, and alleged drug dealer Placido Carvalho, 29, accusing them of drugging and raping Keeling before leaving her on the beach to die.

"My daughter's face was pushed into sandy water. There wasn't enough drugs or alcohol to cause unconsciousness," said the 43-year-old mother, who came to Goa from Devon in southwest England in November with seven of her nine children for a six-month stay."If she had drowned there would be sand in her stomach, which there was not. Her lungs would have been full of water, which they were not. It was more like asphyxiation than drowning," said MacKeown.

The doctor who prepared Saturday's report told AFP on Sunday that the stomach analysis showed that Keeling had ingested intoxicants, but not enough to cause her to pass out.

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