A Dutch tourist has confessed to killing a British fitness instructor after stabbing her more than 40 times on a lakeside houseboat in India, according to local police.
The body of Sarah Groves, 24, was found on Saturday morning by the boat’s owners who were reportedly awakened by the suspect trying to escape by rowing boat on Dal Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir after he allegedly smashed the latch door to her room during the night.
Ahafdul Mujitaba, the officer in charge of the case, said Richard De Wit – who was also a guest on the boat – told police he killed Groves.
“He has said he did it, though of course that needs to be corroborated. He is also showing signs of paranoia, which will have to be investigated, too,” he said.
Groves was brought up in Cheshire but was based in Guernsey where her parents live. She was travelling the world after completing her studies at the Chelsea College of Art.
According to Saeed Shoda, 25, whose family owned the houseboat, he met Groves in Goa in January and they began a relationship. She travelled with him to Srinagar and had been staying on the New Beauty houseboat for two months.
The night she was killed, Shoda said he travelled to see friends in Pahalgan, 60 miles east of Srinagar but returned when he heard the news and confronted De Wit in police custody. He told reporters: “I saw him at the police station. I begged why, why did you kill her?” De Wit is said to have said to Shoda: “The devil took over my body.’
Shoda said he spoke to Groves’s father Victor, 70. “The family are devastated but will still come to Kashmir. I don’t know how to face them because they had trusted me. It’s an awful situation, just so sad,” he said.
Shoda’s mother, Hafiza, said Groves had visited Srinagar’s White Mosque with her for Friday prayers. They had returned to the houseboat where they ate dinner before Groves went to her room to telephone her father and read. De Wit, 43, is reported to have fled the houseboat leaving all his belongings except his passport. He is then said to have capsized a rowing boat, then swam to shore and hired a taxi. He was arrested in the town of Qazigund, 45 miles south of Srinagar.
De Wit took a room on the boat on Thursday and retired at midnight on Friday.
De Wit was placed in judicial custody for 10 days by a magistrate in Srinagar at the weekend.