The recent news of another violently murdered backpacker abroad is disturbing. In March Irish Danielle McLaughlin’s badly beaten, naked body was found in a pool of blood near Deobag Beach in Goa. The grim discovery was made just hours after she'd been celebrating the Holi festival on Palolem beach four miles away. A local man has already been arrested and appeared in court charged with murder. But sadly, Danielle is just the latest murdered backpacker, killed brutally while travelling the world...

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1. Danielle McLaughlin

murdered backpacker

Tributes placed by mourners at the scene where her body was found (Photo: Getty Images)

I am very grateful and the luckiest person I know… Off on another adventure,  was 28 year old murdered backpacker Danielle’s last message to the world, alongside a picture of a sunset. But just weeks later, on 14 March 2017, she was found dead in a field by a farmer.

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She had extensive injuries to her face and head and had been strangled to death. Local man Vikat Bhagat, 23, has already appeared in court charged with murder, and has allegedly already confessed to killing her, saying he saying he sexually assaulted her before disfiguring her face with a beer bottle. Chilling CCTV footage shows Danielle’s final moments, as she walks down the road followed by a man police believe is Bhagat. Around 200 local and foreign nationals held a vigil for Danielle, gathering flowers in tribute to the murdered backpacker.

2. Hannah Witheridge and David Miller

murdered backpacker

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Their brutal murders on the quiet, picturesque beach of Koh Tao Island in Thailand in September 2014 made headlines around the world. Hannah, 23, from Norfolk, and David, 24, from Jersey, were both found by the rocks on the sands of the Sairee beach with severe head wounds. Hannah had been raped.

Burmese bar workers, Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, both 22, were accused murdering the pair out of sexual jealousy after seeing them on the beach together. The pair claimed they’d been tortured into signing a confession. Others said the Burmese immigrants were being used as scapegoats. They have since been convicted of bludgeoning the pair to death with a wooden hoe as they walked back to their hotel rooms late at night. DNA evidence found at the scene was used to secure the murder convictions. Both men have had appeals rejected and been sentenced to death.

3. Mia Ayliffe-Chung

Derbyshire born traveller, Mia Aycliffe-Chung, 21, was stabbed to death in a workers’ hostel  in Home Hill, near Townsville, Queensland in August 2016 while on a gap year in Australia. Mia was allegedly dragged out of bed and stabbed multiple times.

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Mia had been doing unpaid work on a sugar farm to earn a visa that would allow her to stay longer in the country when she met her killer. One theory being investigated was that he became infatuated with Mia and ‘flipped’ when she rejected his advances.

murdered backpacker

Thomas Jackson (Photo: REX/Shutterstock)

Other tourists leapt into action and tried to help Mia, telling others to barricade themselves in their rooms. Hero Brit Thomas Jackson, 30, was stabbed in the eye, face and torso after attempting to aid dying Mia. He died a week later from his injuries. Frenchman Smail Ayad, 29, has been charged with two counts of murder, amongst other charges.

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4. Peter Falconio

murdered backpacker

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In July 2001, Peter and his girlfriend, Joanne Lees, were travelling through the outback when a man in a pick-up truck flagged them down, claiming he was having engine trouble. Peter went to help. The next thing Joanna heard was a gunshot. The man then threatened her with a gun and tied her up, but Joanna managed to escape and she fled through the bush. It was five hours before help arrived, and the body of her boyfriend was never found.
Suspicion initially fell on Joanne, until November 2003, after one of the largest manhunts in Australian history, police arrested Bradley Murdoch, a drug smuggler. DNA evidence from blood on Joanne’s top linked him to the crime. His DNA was also on the tape used to tie up Joanna and the gearstick of the couple’s van. He was convicted of murder, sentenced to life with a minimum of 28-years. At the time, Peter Falconio became the most infamous case of a murdered backpacker worldwide.

5. Brenda Searle

murdered backpacker

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Murdered backpacker Brenda Searle, 27, who grew up in Buckinghamshire, vanished in Mexico in September 2000. She’d been due to meet her boyfriend on the Yucatan peninsula, where he was working as a tour guide, but never made it.

Her skeletal remains were found eight months later. She’d been shot twice in the head. Authorities were led to her grave by a Cuban man arrested shortly after Brenda’s disappearance when police found evidence he’d used her credit cards after she disappeared.