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Danielle McLaughlin may have been attacked in Goa hotel room

 Danielle McLaughlin's body was found on a beach
Marie Louise McConville

A Co Donegal woman who was raped and murdered in India may have been attacked in a hotel room before her body was dumped, it has been claimed.

The body of backpacker, Danielle McLaughlin, who was from Buncrana, was found in a field less than 2km from the popular beach resort of Palolem in south Goa last Tuesday.

The 28-year-old had travelled to India earlier this month and was taking part in the annual Holi festival celebrations.

According to police, a man named in Indian newspapers as Vikat Bhagat, confessed to the rape and murder.

He was captured on CCTV walking with Danielle the day before her death and appeared in court on rape and murder charges last Wednesday.

However, according to Vikram Varma, a lawyer representing the McLaughlin family, the suspect may not have been acting alone.

The lawyer said it was possible Ms McLaughlin was attacked while she was taking shower at a hotel or private room after she left the Green Park beach bar on Monday night.

Mr Varma said: "Danielle was seen at another place with three or four men after she left the Green Park bar.

"She was covered in Holi festival colours. Her face and hands were covered with paint. But this paint was not found on her dead body. The paint had been washed off. So she must have gone to somewhere to clean up, to take a shower."

Vikat Bhagat who has been charged with murdering Donegal woman, Danielle McLaughlin.

Mr Varma said it was possible she went to somebody's room. "If the suspects were at the hotel or home with Danielle then a forensic examination of the room will confirm this," he said. "This new sighting could be vital to finding out exactly what happened to this poor girl that night".

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