Man confesses to killing British woman in Kashmir

The body of fitness instructor Sarah Groves is removed by the authorities. Picture: Getty Images
The body of fitness instructor Sarah Groves is removed by the authorities. Picture: Getty Images
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Police in India are investigating whether a British woman was sexually assaulted before she was stabbed to death on a floating hotel.

Sarah Groves, 24, a fitness instructor, was found in a pool of blood inside her room on the house boat, on the Dal Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir, on Saturday.

A Dutch national, Richard De Wit, who had also been staying at the hotel, has been arrested on suspicion of her murder.

Police in India yesterday said he had confessed to killing Ms Groves.

The door to Miss Groves’s room had been smashed open.

Local police said the victim had multiple stab wounds all over her body, while a knife was found next to her.

De Wit, aged 43, fled with only his passport, leaving behind all his belongings before he was arrested in Qazigund, a town just under 45 miles south of Srinagar.

Miss Groves, a keen climber and charity fundraiser, spent more than a month on the house boat, while De Vit had booked into a separate room on ­Thursday, police said, adding that they were investigating whether the two knew each other.

Police said the victim’s body would be examined to determine whether she was sexually ­assaulted before being killed.

Kashmir’s deputy inspector general of police, Aftal ul ­Mujtada, said De Wit had now confessed to killing Ms Groves in her room.

“He has confessed, but he has not given any details. We are not considering any other suspects, but calling all people who could have been around at that time, including the family ­members on the houseboat,” he said.

Samir Shoda, the son of the houseboat’s owner, was helping police with their inquiries. He said he met Miss Groves during a holiday in Goa and had invited her to stay at the hotel.

Mr Shoda, who said had been out with friends at the time, added: “She was an amazing person. She understood everything, we shared our problems, ­everything.”

His father, G M Shoda, said he was woken by a commotion at 2:30am and sent his other son, Irfan, to investigate, who found Miss Groves dead.

Tributes have been paid to Miss Groves, who was from Guernsey, on Twitter.

@Rouxelfc said: “Our world is cruel. Sarah Groves was one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. My life has been touched at the cost of yours.”

While @SarahGuernsey3h wrote: “Truly pure innocent beautiful girl. Can’t believe how evil some people are. RIP Sarah Groves xxxx.”

People have also taken to Facebook to post messages on a page set up to pay tributes to Miss Groves.

Underneath a photograph of her smiling, Charlene Carter said: “That beautiful smile I will never forget.”

Donna Stacey said: “A waste of a beautiful life. It just goes to show the world we live in.”