Police in India have arrested a Dutch man in connection to the stabbing death of an English woman early Saturday.
Richard de Wit, 43, was detained at 4:30 a.m. when officers pulled over a taxi in Qazigund, about 50 miles northwest of Srinagar, where 24-year-old Sarah Groves was murdered in a houseboat, according to The Telegraph.
“The Dutch national had fled from the houseboat in the night, leaving behind his belongings,” said Abdul Ghani Mir, the Inspector General of Kashmir. “He was trying to flee from the Valley, carrying only his passport. We flashed an alert for his arrest.”
He had apparently tried to escape on a boat, but capsized it and was forced to swim to shore.
Groves, a tourist from Guernsey, called the houseboat home for the last two months. De Wit had arrived two days ago and was staying in a separate room on the houseboat.
Police say the door knob to Groves’ room was broken and they found a knife laying in a pool of blood near her body.
“She was very dear to me, she was just like my daughter,” the owner of the houseboat, identified as Hafeeza, said to Sky News. G.M. Shoda was also listed as an owner of the floating residence.
A man reported as the owner’s son, Samir Shoda, was the first to find Groves’ body and was also questioned by police.
“The girl went to sleep at about 12 o’clock and the Dutch man was outside until 12.30 a.m.,” Afad ul-Mujtaba, Kashmir’s Deputy Inspector-General, told The Telegraph.
“After that everyone, including the houseboat owner and staff went to sleep. At around 2:30 a.m., they (the owner and his son) heard some cries, possibly some quarrelling.”
Reports stated Groves was sexually assaulted, but authorities said they could not confirm that detail until a medical examiner’s report was complete.
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has notified Groves’ family of her death.
A Guernsey Police spokesman told The Telegraph, “Family members have been informed and it is requested that their privacy be respected at this difficult time.”
Violent attacks against women in India, including the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old Delhi medical student in December 2012, appear to be a growing problem in the country.
A Swiss tourist was also gang-raped while her husband was beaten in March when they camped overnight in central India. Later that month, an English woman jumped from her hotel balcony in Agra after the hotel manager and guard tried to sexually assault her