British backpacker ‘put up brave fight’ against alleged delusional Dutch killer on Indian houseboat

Published: April 9, 2013
Sarah Groves

Dr. Farida Noor, the head of forensic medicine at Srinagar’s General Medical College, Monday disclosed that of the 45 cuts on Sarah Groves’ body, 43 were “defence wounds” to her fingers, hands and arms. Submitted photo



The Dutch tourist arrested for stabbing to death the British fitness instructor Sarah Groves in Kashmir is suffering from paranoia, police have alleged, as a friend claimed that he killed her “for no reason.”

Police have spoken to Richard de Wit’s wife and daughter, who confirmed that he had been consulting psychologists, according to Aftul ul Mujtada, Srinagar’s Deputy Inspector General.

The allegations about de Wit’s mental health emerged as the forensic scientist who carried out a post-mortem examination on Groves revealed how she had fought fiercely for her life. Mr de Wit was arrested early on Saturday, police said, as he tried to flee a houseboat on Srinagar’s Dal Lake where Groves, 24, from Guernsey, was killed in a knife attack. He was stopped by police just under 80 kilometres from Srinagar as he travelled by taxi to Jammu, seven hours’ drive away. He had swum from the houseboat to the shore and was still wet, police said.

He appeared before a magistrate on Sunday. According to ul Mujtada, he has confessed to killing Groves while under the influence of drugs — either heroin or cannabis — but gave no details or reason for the attack.

A friend of Groves told AFP, the French news agency, that de Wit confessed he murdered the backpacker for “no reason.” Syed Ahmed Shoda, the houseboat owner’s son and friend of the victim, claimed de Wit told him “there is no reason [why I killed her], I just killed her.”

In a video posted on YouTube from Zurich in December last year, de Wit said he had been receiving treatment from psychologists but believed that they had been acting on behalf of the security services and other government departments to spy on him and others. He described himself as married to a “dark-skinned woman” with children, one of whom was doing very well at school.

The psychologist, from the government’s health department, had put drugs in his tea to make him impotent after he had said he wanted to become a sperm donor, while members of the security services had put a GPS tracker under his scooter to monitor his movements, he claimed. As a young man he had joined Holland’s Central Democrats, a nationalist, anti-immigration political party, after he was attacked by Moroccans, and had won a seat for the party in an election, he claimed.

He said he had been visited by intelligence agents who believed he was a far-Right republican who posed a threat to Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

“The last conversation was January 19 this year [2012]. She [the psychologist or intelligence agent] said, ‘I have filled in all these forms and I put your signature below it. I falsified it. You’re dangerous, you have to be imprisoned. We don’t want you to go abroad, being in a foreign country while writing all sorts of stuff on the internet. You have to disappear.’ Of course that scared me enormously.”

Dr. Farida Noor, the head of forensic medicine at Srinagar’s General Medical College, yesterday (Monday) disclosed that of the 45 cuts on Ms Groves’ body, 43 were “defence wounds” to her fingers, hands and arms.

“Two of the wounds were fatal, one on her neck and the other pierced her lung,” she said. “The cause of death was haemorrhage, but all the rest of the injuries were defence wounds. she tried to save herself.

“There were wounds on her hands and fingers, trying to catch the blade. She tried to defend herself by putting up her arm. She tried to catch hold of the weapon in her hands, she raised her arms to defend herself. I think she would have fought bravely.”

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