Goa: Two Indian men charged with raping and causing the death of British schoolgirl Scarlett Keeling on a Goa beach in 2008 will finally hear the verdicts against them later on Friday.
Fifteen-year-old Keeling's bruised and semi-nude body was found on the popular Anjuna beach in the north of the small Indian tourist state, popular with Western hippies, eight years ago.
Samson D'Souza and Placido Carvalho were charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, using force with intent to outrage a woman's modesty and of administering drugs with intent to harm.
"The culpable homicide charge is the most important charge because I believe that she was murdered," Keeling's mother Fiona MacKeown told AFP ahead of the verdict.
The teenager's death became international news, shining a spotlight on the seedy side of the resort destination and also drawing attention to India's sluggish justice system.
Police initially dismissed Keeling's death as an accidental drowning but opened a murder investigation after MacKeown pushed for a second autopsy which proved she had been drugged and raped.
It showed that Keeling had suffered more than 50 injuries to her body.
The trial began in 2010 but has been dogged by numerous delays, including hearings of just one afternoon a month due to a backlog of cases and a public prosecutor withdrawing from proceedings.
A key witness, Briton Michael Mannion, known as "Masala Mike", also refused to testify, dealing a huge blow to the prosecution's case.
He had initially spoken of seeing D'Souza lying on top of Keeling on the beach shortly before she died.
MacKeown and her family were on a six-month holiday to India when she, Keeling and her other daughters went on an excursion to the southern state of Karnataka, but Keeling later returned alone to attend a party.
Today is the verdict,I have faith in the judiciary, the CBI I think did a good job: Scarlett Keeling's mother pic.twitter.com/uXwlP0UFBo
— ANI (@ANI_news) September 23, 2016
Her body was found on the morning of 18 February, 2008.
Police allege that D'Souza and Carvalho plied Keeling with a cocktail of drink and illegal drugs, including cocaine, before sexually assaulting her and leaving her to die by dumping her unconscious in shallow water where she drowned.
They deny all of the charges, claiming that the teenager died an accidental death after taking drugs of her own volition.
The verdict is due to be delivered at the children's court in Goa's state capital Panaji at 2.30 pm.
Published Date: Sep 23, 2016 11:55 am | Updated Date: Sep 23, 2016 11:55 am