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British tourist found murdered in HP
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, November 28
A 23-year-old British tourist, Michael James Blakey, was found murdered in McLeodganj, near here, today. His body was found in a nullah, about 100 metres from St John's Church.

Mr Santosh Patial, Additional Superintendent of Police, told The Tribune that the victim had come to India on June 23 this year and his tourist visa was valid till December 22. He was staying in the Kirti Monastery, near the main temple. The motive of the crime was yet to be established.

The face and chest of the victim had been covered with stones, though it was not completely buried. Even though the post-mortem of the body was yet to be conducted, it appeared that the British tourist had been murdered 3-4 days ago, said the police.

Mr Patial said prima facie, it appeared that it was not an accidental death and a murder case had been registered under Section 302 of the IPC.

Local residents said Michael had been associated with a voluntary organisation which worked for the welfare of slum children in the McLeodganj and Dharamsala. He had shifted to the monastery about a week ago and had been missing for the past five days. The police was informed by a visitor to the church about the body lying in the nullah in the cemetery of the church this morning.

"Investigations are on and we are hopeful of getting vital leads from the monastery room where the victim was staying. It is yet to be established why he was murdered," he said.

Police sources said the church road area, where the body was found, wore a deserted look after sunset and it was possible that the body was dumped there after committing the murder. The British Embassy would be informed after taking into possession the passport of the victim, said the police.

Even though hundreds of foreign and Indian tourists visit McLeodganj every month, the tourist spot is yet to have a police station and there is only a police assistance booth to fall back on in case of any eventuality.

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