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British woman’s murder case: SLSA appoints counsel for accused Dutch national
SRINAGAR, Mar 16: State Legal Services Authority (SLSA) today appointed Ms Mahira Bhat as a counsel for Richard De-Wit—Dutch national, accused of murdering a British female tourist Sarah Alizebt Grove who was on visit to Kashmir in 2013.

As the matter came up for hearing, three prosecution witnesses were present in the court whose statements were not recorded by the court in absence of defense counsel. The accused De Wit was also present in the court.

Senior lawyer Mushtaq Ahmad Dar was appointed as amicus curie by the court whose salary shall be paid by the law department. The court has now listed the matter for hearing on March 29.

On January 31, the court had directed Medical Superintendent of Government Psychiatry hospital Srinagar to conduct medical examination of De-Wit.

On January 23, the court of Principal district and session’s judge Srinagar had granted time to De-Wit to engage his counsel by or before January 31.

The British female tourist Sarah Alizebt Grove, 25, a resident of Manchester, UK was found murdered in “New Beauty” houseboat in Dal Lake on April 6, 2013 morning.

On June 3, 2015 a Sub Inspector of Police posted in Ram Munshibagh police station was cross examined while as the statements made by a witness during hi cross examination were partly recorded in the matter.

The court had recorded averments made by the sub inspector while as due to paucity of time, the cross examination of another witness could not be concluded.

The head constable who had arrested Richard De-Wit—a Dutch national accused of murdering the British female visitor from Qazigund was put to question from the prosecution and the defense lawyer. Similarly the FSL Incharge mobile team was also examined and cross examined by the lawyers. The FSL official had collected the samples of deceased lady and the accused and had recovered the weapon of offence from the site of occurrence.

On September 4, 2014, a police official posted in the same police station who had witnessed whole process of arrest of De-Wit was cross examined. According to Abdul Aziz Teli, senior public prosecutor on September 3, 2014 the witness who had sold a knife to the accused was cross examined by the defense lawyer. On May 31, 2014, Teli had said a head constable and a Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) official were cross examined in the matter.

On June 3, 2014 the police filed charge sheet against De-Wit under section 302 of RPC before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Srinagar. The CJM later committed the case to session’s court for the trial.

Police had found Grove in pool of blood and torn clothes. A case vide FIR number 40/2013 under section 302/RPC was registered in police station Ram Munshi Bagh, Srinagar. Police had later arrested De-Wit, from Qazigund on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway when he was trying to flee. Since he was putting up in the next room on the same houseboat where Grove was found dead, he was brought to Srinagar for questioning.

Police had found a sharp-edged knife close to Grove’s body. “Her body bore multiple stab wounds,” a police official had told media persons here.

Officials in prosecution said the motive behind the murder of the British woman is not clear and the medical records including reports from Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) are awaited and a supplementary charge sheet is likely to be filed in next couple of days.

A police official had told Kashmir Times that De-Wit had smashed the latch of the houseboat cabin door, where Grove was sleeping and had stabbed her to death.

The incident had taken place between 3.00 AM and 4.00 AM. After the murder, De-Wit had allegedly fled the spot carrying his passport along, police officials had told media persons here. He had left his belongings in the room in the houseboat.

Quoting Abdul Rahim Shoda, the owner of the houseboat where Grove’s murder took place, the police officials had revealed a Dutch tourist had taken a room adjoining to Grove’s room on the houseboat three days before the incident took place.

The houseboat owner had informed the police that when he woke up at 5.00 AM to buy bread, he found the door of the houseboat was open. He said his own boat was missing. “I went into the houseboat and did not found De-Wit there. I saw Grove in pool of blood and my son took her to the hospital,” Shoda had told the police.

News Updated at : Friday, March 17, 2017
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