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Scarlett Keeling - prosecute the mother?

It would seem a little vindictive to propose such a thing, but isn't it time we did something about single motherhood, irresponsible parenting and the societal consequences of condoning illegitimacy and promiscuity?

Anyway, what is the point of having an age of consent if it is hardly ever enforced?

Either repeal it or enforce it! If it is criminal offence then it should be perfectly possible to be prosecuted for aiding and abetting a criminal offence such as this.

Should Fiona McKeown, who took her variously-fathered children to Goa, who took Scarlett out of school for a planned period of 6 months, it was reported, when she should have been preparing for her GCSEs, who thought it was OK for her 15 year old daughter to have a sexual relationship with a tour guide they met on holiday while in her care, be made an example of?

Would it be in the public interest for the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute a mother (so shamelessly negligent that she even now denies that she has been negligent) who knowingly allows her under-aged daughter to have sex with a man they just met on holiday?

You may wish to ask

The Chief Constable
Stephen Otter
Devon and Cornwall Constabulary Headquarters


The Officer in Charge
Bideford Police Station
New Road
EX39 2BW

08452 777444

if a prosecution might not be in order when all the facts are already made out below:


Scarlett smoked cannabis in Britain, and not, it would seem, the just "once or twice" her mother claimed.

"Scaz - always ravin, goin out, getting stoned and bein off her face," reads one of several similar badly spelt internet tributes to the dead girl.

Her relationship with Scarlett was "trusting and honest" - more like a friend than a parent. And therein, perhaps, lay the root of many of Scarlett's problems.

For there was a similarly "matey" approach to the subject of sex. Scarlett had a boyfriend in Britain and was sexually active. But her mother only found out about this after Scarlett told her she had been to the family planning clinic.

"We had talked about it and I was aware she was having a relationship and I was OK about that," was Fiona's rather laid-back view.

Sexual Offences Act 2003

Child sex offences

Section 9 Sexual activity with a child

(1) A person aged 18 or over (A) commits an offence if—
(a) he intentionally touches another person (B),
(b) the touching is sexual, and
(c) either—
(i) B is under 16 and A does not reasonably believe that B is 16 or over, or
(ii) B is under 13.
(2) A person guilty of an offence under this section, if the touching involved—
(a) penetration of B’s anus or vagina with a part of A’s body or anything else,
(b) penetration of B’s mouth with A’s penis,
(c) penetration of A’s anus or vagina with a part of B’s body, or
(d) penetration of A’s mouth with B’s penis,
is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.
(3) Unless subsection (2) applies, a person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—
(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both;
(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.

Section 14
Arranging or facilitating commission of a child sex offence

(1) A person commits an offence if—
(a) he intentionally arranges or facilitates something that he intends to do, intends another person to do, or believes that another person will do, in any part of the world, and
(b) doing it will involve the commission of an offence under any of sections 9 to
(2) A person does not commit an offence under this section if—
(a) he arranges or facilitates something that he believes another person will do, but that he does not intend to do or intend another person to do, and
(b) any offence within subsection (1)(b) would be an offence against a child for whose protection he acts.
(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), a person acts for the protection of a child if he acts for the purpose of—
(a) protecting the child from sexually transmitted infection,
(b) protecting the physical safety of the child,
(c) preventing the child from becoming pregnant, or
(d) promoting the child’s emotional well-being by the giving of advice,
and not for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification or for the purpose of causing or encouraging the activity constituting the offence within subsection (1)(b) or the child’s participation in it.
(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—
(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both;
(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.
Vote: Should Scarlett Keeling's mother be prosecuted for aiding and abetting under-aged sex?

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Members Comments

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Andromeda 10-Apr-2008 20:24
Jeffrey Marshall asks why this sort of prosecution does not happen all the time.

Because this law is so widely flouted by so many so much of the time! The assumption is that the right to have sex at whatever age is more important than the discouragement of single parent families.

In other words, neither the citizen nor the government are being rational or consistent about which priorities are more important to society.

It is a sad state of affairs that even those who wish to protect family values are afraid of doing so, for fear of being seen as uncompassionate, such as Victoria Gillick and Lynette Burrows.

There is already a law against underage sex, ie the Sexual Offences Act 2003. All the words are there, in black and white, but we still won't use it and believe there must be some good reason not to!

Is there any reason not to enforce a law that is clearly in need of enforcement? The explanation is that we are now so irrational that we will not even see what is in black and white even after it has been pointed out and referred to again and again!

Even when there is nothing to fear, people are still afraid to put forward a dissenting opinion that is not part of the compassionate consensus, even when the law exists to go against this consensus, which is rather dismaying.

Any lapse for even a moment if we are unlucky is likely to result in death, injury and loss of property. I do not think it matters whether the danger is physical or moral. The consequences are the same.
jeffreymarshall 10-Apr-2008 2:18
Andromeda states that Fiona McKeown ‘must have known’ that Scarlett and the tour guide were having sex, and so, as a result, she already knew Julio Lobo was committing statutory rape on her daughter.

Admittedly there is some circumstantial evidence to this effect. However I still cannot detect any a priori sense in which she 'must have known'.

It could equally - on the other hand - have been possible that she felt confident about leaving Scarlett in the tour guide’s care because she assumed Julio Lobo was too much the gentleman to take advantage of an underaged girl.

Secondly, Andromeda’s points about negligence and contributory negligence do indeed make perfect sense in the context of, say, driving a vehicle - where the level of negligence can be measured by criteria such as the wearing of a seatbelt, the obeying of a speed limit, the amount of alcohol in one’s blood, & so on.

However, if it cannot be established that Fiona McKeown ‘must have known’ she was allowing the statutory rape of her daughter – and I do not see how this can be established a priori – then proof of her negligence is far from automatic.

Indeed I am slightly puzzled that the Crown Prosecution Service should apparently regard this as an ‘open and shut case’ for this whole ‘prosecution’ seems to me extremely tendentious.

In fact, this whole thread defies common sense. If it did not defy common sense, this type of prosecution would happen all the time. But it doesn’t. Why, I wonder?

Perhaps because the death of a child is often merely a tragedy of miscalculation on the part of whoever is legally responsible for it - not an act of dangerous negligence such as, for example, lack of due care and attention when driving a car.
Andromeda 8-Apr-2008 10:44
Jeffrey Marshall's most recent comment indicates that he thought I only proposed to prosecute Fiona McKeown alone for aiding and abetting underaged sex, or people whose way of life I disapprove of.

I will have him know that I have already received calls and messages from hurt and irate friends who were brought up in this way and who have in turn brought up their own children in this way, of aiding and abetting underaged sex or at least looking the other way if they know their daughter is on the pill.

I stand unmoved by their condemnation of my condemnation of their parenting styles, however.

My intention ALL ALONG was to suggest that ALL who knowingly allow their underaged daughters to go on the pill - including my friends and family - should be prosecuted.

In addition to that, I have suggested in another poll in the Chamber of Debate under "FAMILY - never-married single parents, age of consent, family breakdown" that laws should be passed to

(a) deprive a single mother of child benefit if she cannot produce a
marriage certificate;
(b) fine the single mother for producing an illegitimate baby, say £1000, if she does not name the father;
(c) require her parent(s) to pay this sum if she cannot or will not;
(d) fine the father of an illegitimate child a sum of money, say £1000;
(e) require the parent(s) of that father to pay this sum if he cannot pay it himself;
(f) require that the mother give up the child for adoption before more lives are ruined.

In one fell swoop would the problem be solved by these measures, which will have the effect of encouraging greater parental interest in controlling their offspring.

I am almost hurt that Jeffrey Marshall thought otherwise!

As for his comments about the relative safety of rural Devon, I would like to suggest that peasant life has historically caused more unplanned pregnancy than city life. One is perhaps lulled into a sense of false security, thinking that it would be safe for our children to wander about at will in the safety of the countryside (which, as we all know now, is infested by sex predators and perverts of every description). The oft-portrayed scenes of "goings on" in barns, stables and haystacks come to mind!

The false security with which parents are lulled into, when they allow their underaged daughters to go on the pill, is of course the one I am referring to!

Moral danger leads to ineluctably to physical danger.

A generation of morally endangered children bringing up another generation of morally endangered children ad nauseam cannot be a good thing for Britain as a nation, can it?
jeffreymarshall 8-Apr-2008 2:18
If Scarlett Keeling's mother be prosecuted for aiding and abetting under-aged sex, let every parent who does the same be prosecuted also.

Naturally in the majority of cases such aiding & abetting will not lead to rape & murder. Nor need it necessarily have done so in Scarlett’s case. Julio Lobo - the tour guide, in whose care the mother apparently left Scarlett - has not been arrested for this crime.

Indeed the rape & killing of Scarlett might even have occurred while the mother herself was in the vicinity - certainly judging by the 'independence' Scarlett seems to have enjoyed at home in England.

But clearly multi-racial Goa is a far more lethal environment than Devon, one of the few places in Britain which is still relatively mono-racial and where one perhaps can still grow up with an ‘innocent’ approach to life & other people.

Nevertheless, you cannot prosecute someone because she ‘embodies in extremis all that is wrong and rotten about British parenting’.

Intellectually challenged though she might be, Ms McKeown appears to have a clearer notion of the meaning of the word ‘scapegoat’ than Andromeda, who seems to believe that the law should seek out a sacrificial goat & tear it to pieces in order to encourage the others.

For example, Ms MsKeown stated that the two suspects, Samson D’Souza and Placido Carvalho – who had been charged with involvement in the murder - were ‘scapegoats’. Why did she say this? Because she thought how splendid it would be to prosecute these two as an example to others? No. She said they were ‘scapegoats’ because she thought they were not the real villains.

Either leave Ms McKeown in simple peace, or go ahead and prosecute all the other parents who turn a blind eye to their under-aged offspring’s sexual relationships - whether or not there are unpleasant consequences.

The law is supposed to apply to everyone equally – not just those people whose lifestyles you disapprove of.
jeffreymarshall 8-Apr-2008 2:15
Ms McKeown may have shown “no remorse” as KScott points out, but why should she? She isn’t a criminal.

And if she had ‘forced’ the child to go to Goa, then this is her business alone.

Who knows, maybe the mother thought a Scarlett left alone in Britain would have been even more vulnerable than one who was at least accompanied in Goa. We just don't know.
Andromeda 5-Apr-2008 12:44
I have been criticised by some members for ASSUMING that Fiona McKeown, whose 15 year old daughter Scarlett died in Goa after being gang-raped, was a negligent parent, as if further proof were needed! The following points need to be made again.

Bearing in mind that ignorance of the law is no defence, Fiona McKeown MUST HAVE KNOWN that -

(a) her daughter was having sex below the age of consent

(b) her daughter was having sex with her tour guide boyfriend (which was statutory rape in India and a child sex offence in the UK)

(c) leaving her daughter with her tour guide boyfriend (while she, her boyfriend and her variously fathered children leave Goa to visit another part of India) would almost certainly mean more underaged sex/statutory rape/child sex offences - call it what you will – committed by the tour guide on her daughter.

The act of leaving Scarlett in her tour guide boyfriend’s care constitutes an abdication of parental responsibility. The fact that Scarlett was unwilling to accompany her family because she wanted to stay in Goa with her boyfriend is irrelevant. Fiona McKeown left her daughter behind, probably because she saw that it would be pleasanter to travel without an unwilling and sulky teenager rather than assert parental authority by making Scarlett accompany her family and leave Goa.

The following legal concepts should make the reasoning clear:

RES IPSA LOQUITUR [“the thing speaks for itself”]
“A principle often applied to the law of tort of negligence. If an accident has occurred of a kind that usually only happens if someone has been negligent, and the state of affairs that produced the accident was under the control of the defendant, it may be presumed IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE that the accident was caused by the defendant’s negligence.”

“A person’s carelessness for his own safety or interests, which contributes materially to damage suffered by him as a result of his own fault and partly of the fault of another person or persons. Thus careless driving, knowingly travelling with a drunker driver, and failure to wear a seatbelt are common forms of contributory negligence.”

1P4A’s purpose in suggesting that she be prosecuted is because it is sincerely believed that it would be IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST to do so.

1P4A has already been in contact with the Cornwall and Devon Branch of the Crown Prosecuton Service. It has already been established that it is an open and shut care and the offences are arguably made out. It is however only the police that has the locus standi to prosecute her, if it sees fit.

Fiona McKeown should be prosecuted because she embodies in extremis all that is wrong and rotten about British parenting, the sort of behaviour that if unpunished continues to spread like a cancer through society so determined to be "compassionate" that it would rather cling on to this self-righteous self-image than exercise any sort of moral judgment!

KScott 3-Apr-2008 20:14
What IS the problem here with good old-fashioned British middle and working-class values which emphasise skills, education, responsibility, a work ethic, family care and social mobility?

I fear jeffreymarshall this is not just a case of investigating a relative of a "murder victim"; this victim was clearly, in psychological terms, an 'abandoned child' and had been for some time; therein hangs the tale.

Where parental neglect has resulted in child murder, that parent is culpable and should be required to take responsibility.

Certainly we appear to be dealing only with circumstantial evidence; however, such evidence has sufficed in numerous criminal cases to convict offenders.

Miss MacKeown is the mother of nine children by four fathers. She has quoted in the Telegraph: "Julio [the tour guide lover] was like an uncle to her... At that age kids need to have independence." Indeed!

I can't quite make the connection: 'uncle' and a 'known' sexual relationship. However, the 'uncle'/lover claims the child had been left with him for three weeks; that she had a drink problem which her mother knew about and "It's not true she was seeing her daughter every few days."

The Indian government are planning to 'ban' Ms McKeown from India. The Daily Telegraph reports she has a "home" in Goa. She has now returned to her other home and children in Britain.

Dare one ask who has been taking care of the 'other children'? Dare one ask how a woman with 9 children, reportedly living on benefits, can afford to maintain a 'home' in Goa and a home in the UK.

Ms McKeown has now issued an open letter which the Telegraph describes as "emotional". She is also advertising on Sky her willingness to answer questions from the site's readers.

All this serves only to confirm my initial reaction - a totally self-obsessed, intellectually challenged individual. Culpable, but denying responsibility and now basking in publicity. I detect no remorse in any of the Telegraph reports, despite having the admission that she "forced Scarlett to go to Goa".

The latest statement: "I will find it difficult to pay for all of this but I am prepared to sell my ponies and my livestock, even the family pets to pay for it."

Because I have Indian friends in Goa, I have visited many times over the past 20 years; have witnessed the deterioration in a gentle and innocent society, and listened to the concerns of Goan people.

Only a total fool would imagine a 15 year old girl without supervision could be safe in Goa. British women - of all ages - are notorious - shrivelled-up ageing hippies with teenage boyfriends, silly drunken teenagers topless on the beach surrounded by giggling boys. In a mixed Hindu/Catholic community, such people are frankly despised and .... feared.

With them has come prosperity but also chronic water shortage, crime, drug abuse and drunkenness which has transformed Goan society.
Andromeda 2-Apr-2008 12:10
I cannot quite see why the age of consent is relevant to this discussion. Is “Estivboy” suggesting that we should do away with it altogether?

Is it not clear to the meanest intelligence that if Scarlett had not been already on the pill and sexually active BEFORE she left for Goa, her mother would not have left her in the care of her tour guide boyfriend?

Is it not also obvious that if Scarlett’s father had been accompanying her and her mother on holiday, he would not have been quite so easily persuaded to allow any Tom, Dick and Harry (or in this case any Rajiv, Deepak and Kamal) to have sex with his daughter and "look after her" in his absence?

I have also been accused of pushing middle class values on the benighted underclasses. What is wrong with this, pray tell? If, as Jeffrey Marshall points out, this makes them less likely to turn to drugs, prostitution and crime, then it is surely better to have MORE middle class values and fewer “underclass values” which only help to equip white working class British teenagers to be victims of the white slave trade – as PANORAMA on BBC1 “teenage sex for sale” showed last week.

There was a suggestion that ethnic pimps were somehow targeting white teenagers more than those of their own ethnicity. It is also a fact that the BNP have been seeking to publicise this phenomenon for some time now.

The explanation is quite simple. Pimps and predatory men of most ethnicities find white working class girls more willing than their own better-protected females. The ethnic prejudice in favour of family values and more traditional standards of sexual morality is clearly something that confers some protection on their young, while it is the white working classes who are most vulnerable and least protected. It is shameful indeed that even the BNP - whose aim it is to represent the white working class Briton - seems unable to acknowledge this. Instead, they prefer to blame multi-racial criminals - who are a statistical inevitability in a multi-racial nation.

It would be far better for the BNP to acknowledge that British culture, ie promiscuity, binge drinking and single parenthood, has few if any societal benefits. It is deeply unconstructive for them to whinge about foreigners ruining their country and taking their women when it is the very behaviour of white British women (who are generally known by the international community to be promiscuous and free with their favours) that make themselves vulnerable to predatory men of all races and nations.

More constructive would be for the BNP to establish a British National Temperance & Chastity Society! .... so that homegrown workers would be better workers and preferred by British employers and their families stay together more. It is well-established that divorce and single parenthood are the main contributors to poverty, under-achievement, delinquency, promiscuity and perpetuate a vicious circle involving future generations. What child would not take a leaf out of Mum's book when it sees its mother has had a series of boyfriends, acquired and discarded during its childhood?

My goodness, perhaps some Islamic values might even help, since liberal Christian values of "anything goes", apparently, are no guide to life, are they?
jeffreymarshall 2-Apr-2008 3:6
“This woman” should not be investigated for any of the activities listed by KScott unless some evidence of these failings should happen to emerge during the trial of those who – with luck – will presently be charged with Scarlett’s death.

KScott complains of ‘woolly thinking’ do-gooders but it is difficult to think of anything more woolly minded & utterly illogical than placing the relative of a murder victim on trial for failing to be present at the time of the said murder - instead of simply getting on with charging those who may have been responsible.

During the genuine trial (as opposed to this wholly artificial, tabloid-inspired witch hunt) pertinent facts about the mother’s negligence may perhaps emerge.

The problem behind this question is that it seems to be partly motivated by a desire to reform middle-class morals. Well, neglected middle-class children – even those who have sex at 15 – rarely meet this kind of fate. Sadly, working class children do, rather more often anyway – especially those unfortunate enough to live in centres of high immigration. Neither Scarlett’s fate - nor even Mrs McKeown’s prosecution - would do much to affect parenting standards among this target middle-class group.

KScott 25-Mar-2008 19:54
Yes. Of course this woman should be investigated for
1) aiding and abetting under-age sexual activity.
2) gross neglect of her child's welfare
3) possible benefits fraud.

Any society requires basic 'rules' in order to function effectively. That has nothing to do with Christianity or any other religious belief - tribal and/or pagan cultures all operated under traditional customs and obligations to the good of the community.

The 'liberal' tendency promoted by past and present governments and woolly-thinking do-gooders in Britain has done nothing but corrode self-discipline and self-respect. It is the road to anarchy.

The inverted snobbery of such as 'estivboy' inculcates RIGHTS but ignores any concept of RESPONSIBILITY.

The white working class of Britain are now the 'deprived' class. Deprived of the basic principle of 'earning a living', depleted of crafts and skills, the English, in particular, are a people betrayed and left to flounder in a 'great big melting pot' for which they were not equipped.

I regard 'pity' for this woman - who is either a self-obsessed fool or mentally challenged - as patronising. Far better she be taught basic parenting skills and a modicum of self-discipline. Far better she - better late than never - be required to take RESPONSIBILITY for all the children she has casually brought into the world.

I am not of the opinion that she 'has suffered enough'. The only people who have suffered as a result of her self-interest and clear negligence are the many children whom she quite clearly moulds in her own image - particularly the unfortunate 15 year old who met such an horrific death.
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