Mother of drowned British teen to testify in India: lawyer

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The mother of a British teenager who was found drowned in the Indian resort state of Goa is to give evidence this week against two men on trial over her death, her lawyer said on Monday.

Advocate Vikram Varma said Fiona MacKeown would be a prosecution witness on Friday at the children's court in the state capital of the former Portuguese colony, Panaji, and "give all the information she has."

Two men -- Samson D'Souza and Placido Carvalho -- are on trial after the bruised and half-naked body of MacKeown's 15-year-old daughter, Scarlett Keeling, was found at the popular Anjuna Beach resort in February 2008.

MacKeown was instrumental in forcing local police to conduct a murder investigation after they initially dismissed the teenager's death as accidental.

She sharply criticised officers for allegedly trying to cover-up the wide availability of drugs in the tourist hotspot to protect dealers and has criticised a decision not to charge D'Souza and Carvalho with rape and murder.

The defendants, both beach bar workers, are accused of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, using force with intent to outrage a woman's modesty and administering a drug with intent to harm.

MacKeown had been due to appear as a witness soon after the trial opened in April but was delayed by the volcanic ash cloud that grounded flights in Europe and a court case in Britain in which she was accused of falsely claiming state benefits.

© 2010 AFP

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