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...
1. Danielle McLaughlin
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
4. Peter Falconio
5. Brenda Searle
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.