The family of murdered British backpacker Sarah Groves have spoken publicly about her death for the first time – and revealed they begged her not to travel to Kashmir.
Sarah, 24, was found stabbed to death on Saturday as she slept in a houseboat on the picturesque Lake Dal in Srinagar, northwest India.
Police said she had suffered 45 stab wounds and had valiantly tried to fight her attacker.
Speaking at a press conference in her home island of Guernsey, her father Victor, said his daughter had been due to go to Sri Lanka but changed her plans at the last minute.
“She went north instead. We tried so hard to stop her going,” he said.
“We were worried about her safety, when she went north. Ben [her brother] particularly. We exchanged emails… we tried so hard to stop her going.”
He described Sarah as a “young, fun and beautiful adventurer”.
Businessman Mr Groves, 69, said her decision to go north was a result of meeting Samir Shoda, the houseboat owner’s son.
He added that her family’s concern was “nothing against the guy himself” but they had been worried about her interrupting her original travel plans.
Mr Groves added that he had spoken to Samir “about five times a day” since his daughter’s death.
“In a completely different way, it’s devastating for them as well. It happened in their house,” he said.
“Most of the people there saw the devastation that was left. I’m sure it’s very tough.”
Speaking at a press conference which was also attended by Sarah’s brothers, Tom and Ben, and her half-brother Simon, Mr Groves said he had been informed of his daughter’s death during a late-night telephone call in the early hours of Saturday.
When asked why he was calling, the man answered: “Your daughter is dead. She has been murdered.”
Mr Groves thanked people who had left messages on social media sites in praise of her.
“That’s what’s getting us through,” he said. “All the family thanks all of them very, very sincerely for making the effort and expressing their views, which are well deserved.”
Her Brother Tom said telling his children about her death had been very difficult.
“She wasn’t just a daughter and a sister but she was an auntie to my children, who we had to break the news to yesterday, which I hope is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.
“Because if anything is harder than that I don’t think I could take it.”
Tom added: “We hope that the right process will be followed and that justice can be done and seen to be done.”
The family are now demanding Downing Street and the Foreign Office ensure her death is properly investigated.
Dutch national Richard de Wit, 43, has been arrested for the murder but has not been charged – despite confessing to killing Ms Groves, Indian police have said.
Officers said he was arrested about 50 miles south of Srinigar, carrying only his passport.
He has reportedly claimed he was mentally unstable at the time of the killing.
Yesterday Sarah’s former employer paid tribute to his “model employee” who worked for him for two years.
Andrew Chantrell, the general manager at the Old Government House and Spa, in Guernsey, described Sarah as the most “caring, generous, kind person you could ever wish to meet”.
He said: “She was your model employee.
“She always had a big smile on her face and was one of the most popular members of the team, with both staff and guests alike.
“She was bright and bubbly and always smiling.
“She was one of the most caring, generous, kind people you could ever wish to meet.
“It is such a tragedy, all of the team and the gym members were shocked and sad to hear.
“She will be sorely missed by everybody.”
Sarah worked as a fitness instructor at the four-star hotel between August 2010 and 2012
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