Dutch Man Confesses To Killing Brit Woman

SRINAGAR: The Dutch tourist held in Kashmir in the killing of a British woman has confessed to stabbing the victim to death in a houseboat, but has not admitted sexual assault, the police said.

Richard De Wit was arrested while fleeing the Valley yesterday after the discovery of the slashed body of Sarah Groves, 24, in the “New Beauty” in the Dal Lake earlier in the morning.

The 7ft Dutchman, 43, had arrived as a guest two days ago.

DIG Ahafadul Mujtaba said that  De Wit had told the police he had violent tendencies and that he had been under the influence of drugs when he killed the fellow toursit.

“He told us that he had problems with the Dutch government and that he had a strained relationship with his wife,”  Mujtaba said. “He said that he woke up under the influence of cannabis, went to her room and killed her.”

Mujtaba said the Indian authorities had informed the Dutch government that  De Wit was in their custody, and that they also hoped to learn more about  De Wit’s mental condition from his home government.

Groves, from the Channel Island of Guernsey, and  De Wit had been staying in separate rooms on the New Beauty houseboat in Srinagar. 

Around 2:00 a.m. Saturday, the police said,  De Wit smashed open the door to her room. Her body was found in a pool of blood by the houseboat staff, police said.

Her door had been smashed open and her repeatedly stabbed body was lying on her bed next to a sharp knife.

De Wit fled barefoot from the blood-spattered scene in the middle of the night clutching just his passport.

He boarded a taxi  and was caught on the National Highway near the town of Qazigund, some 80 kilometers away, with only his passport.

An Internet message posted by Tom Groves, who wrote that the victim was his sister, said she traveled to Kashmir because the son of the owner of the boat was her boyfriend.

The boyfriend Sameer’s father Abdul Rahim Shoda last night told of his horror at discovering the murder after being woken up by his wife Hafiza:

“She said someone was running from the houseboat.

“I found the room open where the Dutch tourist was staying.

“She was a shy, lovely girl and called me mother in Kashmiri. Had we known the man had such evil intentions, we would have never let him stay,” Hafiza said. “I’m devastated.”

Manchester-born Groves and Sameer met two months ago in the Indian coastal state of Goa where he runs a handicraft shop.

She agreed to visit his family with him in Srinagar over 1,000 miles away and help renovate New Beauty.

She only planned to be there a few days but loved the region so much she stayed and even wore Kashmiri dress.

The police said that a postmortem examination was conducted on Groves on Saturday. Her body is in the mortuary at the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences.  Mujtaba said De Wit had not confessed to any sexual assault, and that he hoped to learn more from the results.

“We have constituted a board of doctors to look into this. It will take some time,” he said. “We will also be checking for poison as a matter of routine.”  

Mujtaba also said that  De Wit, who will be charged with murder, did not speak of any romantic relationship with  Grove.

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