An Indian court has sentenced a man to 10 years in prison for the drugging and killing of a 15-year-old British girl whose body was found on a Goa beach in 2008.
It comes 11 years after the victim’s mother had to plead with police to investigate the death of her daughter, Scarlett Keeling, after they blamed it on drug taking.
Mumbai High Court Justices RD Dhanuka and Prithviraj Chavan on Friday handed Samson D'Souza the sentence for culpable homicide two days after overturning his acquittal in the attack.
But the court upheld the trial court's acquittal of another suspect in her death.
Vikram Varma, a lawyer representing Keeling's mother, Fiona MacKeown, said in Panaji, the capital of Goa state, he was happy with the court's decision.
It has taken a lot of time, but justice had been done, he said.
Death caused outrage among tourists
The teenager's death caused outrage among the millions of tourists who throng the beaches of the resort city on India's west coast.
Police originally said Keeling had drowned after taking drugs but changed their story after her mother complained.
D'Souza's sentencing comes after an 11-year battle for justice by Scarlett's mother.
Speaking to The Sun, mother Fiona MacKeown described the pain of fighting for justice.
“It is like one of those nightmares when you are screaming and nobody can hear any sound.”
“I spend a lot of time ... thinking about her and what she might have been. She would have gone to college, I think. She was very musical and loved to draw. She would’ve ended up doing something artistic.”
A trial court acquitted both of the accused in 2016 saying there was not enough evidence to convict them. The High Court took up the case in 2017 after an appeal by the Central Bureau of Investigation, India's FBI.
Under Indian laws, both the accused and prosecutors can appeal a trial court's verdict to the High Court and the Supreme Court.
D'Souza and prosecutors can still appeal his sentence to the Supreme Court, and prosecutors can still appeal the acquittal of the second suspect as well.
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