British backpacker’s parents consider India trip to meet murder accused

The parents of a British backpacker killed in India are contemplating flying out to meet the man accused of murdering their daughter amid claims he is willing to reveal "a secret" about her death to them.

Richard de Wit is accused of killing 24-year-old Sarah Groves who was stabbed more than 40 times while she slept on a houseboat in Kashmir in 2013.

It has emerged that Dutchman de Wit, who has converted to Islam in jail, has revealed he is willing to disclose some details about Ms Groves’ death only to her parents.

As the case heads for its 88th court hearing on February 16, Ms Groves’ parents, Victor and Kate, are willing to fly to India but are first seeking confirmation about the veracity of de Wit’s claims.

Mrs Groves, from Guernsey, said: "The problem we have is that it’s an arduous, unpleasant, horrible, costly journey. We don’t want to go over there on a whim and find out that whatever he wants to tell us is nothing new.

"So we are trying every which way to find a way through this, and if we can have some form of confirmation first that what he is saying is genuine then we will be straight off.

"It can only be one of two things - that he knows what happened that night or that he was the one that committed that heinous crime, but it’s all conjecture."

Mrs Groves said she and her husband have had two or three conversations with de Wit at the courthouse and on the prison bus, and that she cannot be sure of the circumstances that led to her daughter’s death.

"A jail supervisor actually asked us if we thought Richard did it, and we just said, ’We don’t know’," Mrs Groves said. "There is so much circumstantial evidence.

"I have to allow logic to prevail and accept that he could have had a psychotic episode but at the same time he has never had a psychotic episode or displayed violence in prison."

Mrs Groves said she was shocked at the emaciated state she last saw de Wit in, adding: "He was a giant of a man who was built like an ox. I found it troubling to see him in the state he was in."

She also spoke of the devastating impact her daughter’s death had had and her deep wish to finally see justice prevail. She said: "I hope I live long enough to see it. It’s devastated our family."

De Wit, who was also a guest on the houseboat on which Ms Groves died, has been detained for her murder, but the case has so far seen 87 court hearings without reaching trial.

He suffers from paranoia and had repeatedly sacked his legal representatives if he believed they had a connection with the Dutch government.

In the latest hearing earlier this month, de Wit was produced before the judge Rashi Ali Dar, who was told the defendant had been unable to find a new lawyer and the case was unable to progress yet again.

The judge also ordered a report on de Wit’s mental health. Ms Groves’ family has called on the British Government to apply diplomatic pressure to progress the case.

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