Bowing to diplomatic pressure, Goa Police have reopened the case of a British woman’s mysterious death here in April 2010 to find out if she was murdered, an official said Saturday. Denyse Sweeny, 35, from Derbyshire, died at an Anjuna hospital after mysteriously falling ill at the Primrose nightclub near here in April 2010. Police had then said that she died of drug overdose. The mother of two was a volunteer at a veterinary clinic in Goa.
A senior police official said the case was reopened following pressure from Britain. ”We have been told to revisit the case and explore the murder angle after two years,” the official said. The case has been reopened and registered under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (murder) on a complaint filed by the woman’s sister, Maureen, who claimed Denyse was murdered, a police spokesperson said. The official said Denyse’s autopsy report, forensic lab report and doctors’ opinion could not ascertain the exact cause of her death. It remained doubtful and inconclusive. Denyse’s sister said she was suspicious about the circumstances of her death, the official said. Denyse’s family members had approached Britian’s member of parliament from South Derbyshire Margaret Beckett seeking a criminal investigation into the death.
Beckett later approached the British Foreign Secretary William Hague, asking him to take up the issue with Indian authorities. ”The moment we read the words ‘drug overdose’, we said ‘no’… We did not accept that at all. If we had known two years ago that whatever investigation was done by the police in India would have been so rubbish, we might have acted sooner. We thought the British Consulate would look after her,” Maureen told the British media, after a second post mortem on Denyse said there was no trace of alcohol or drugs in her body. What added to the family’s suspicion was that a friend Denyse had gone on record saying that she was in a casual relationship with a police official.
The case is similar to the one involving 15-year-old British teenager Scarlett Keeling, who was sexually assaulted and left on the Anjuna beach to die. The police first called it a case of suicide, but a second probe revealed she was drugged.