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Trial delayed Man accused of rape and murder of Danielle McLaughlin denied bail by court in Goa

The body of Danielle, from Buncrana in Co Donegal, was found in Canacona in 2017

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Danielle McLaughlin was found dead in Goa, India, in March 2017 (Family handout/PA)

Danielle McLaughlin was found dead in Goa, India, in March 2017 (Family handout/PA)

Danielle McLaughlin was found dead in Goa, India, in March 2017 (Family handout/PA)

A man accused of the alleged rape and murder of a Co Donegal woman has been denied bail by a court in Goa.

Vikat Bhagat - the man accused of the rape and murder of Danielle McLaughlin in 2017 - was refused bail on Wednesday. He had applied citing a delay in his trial because of the pandemic.

The trial is due to resume on July 14 but is expected to face further delays.

The bail was opposed by advocate Vikramn Varma, who is representing the victim’s family. Her mother, Andrea Brannigan, spoke of her relief that bail was denied.

She previously told how she was devastated when she learned Bhagat had applied for bail, particularly because her family had been waiting for justice for years.

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Murder suspect Vikat Bhagat

Murder suspect Vikat Bhagat

Murder suspect Vikat Bhagat

“I was devastated to learn that the defendant has applied for bail and it's just brought all the horrific memories of what happened to my daughter back to the surface,” she told PA ahead of the hearing.

“I am terrified that the court is going to set him free on bail. It's been four years since I lost my beautiful daughter and it's as painful today as it ever has been.

“To have to wait this long for justice has just been truly awful for us and we cannot get closure until justice is done. I am really frightened that if the suspect is released and then flees from justice that our nightmare will go on and on.”

The body of Danielle, from Buncrana in Co Donegal, was found in Canacona, a southern coastal town popular with travellers, in 2017. Her body was found with injuries to her head and face.

She had travelled to Goa with a female friend from Australia. They had been celebrating a Hindu spring festival in a nearby village.

A post-mortem examination showed that her death had been caused by cerebral damage and constriction of the neck.

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