Father of backpacker thinks she was killed

Oct. 12, 2008 at 2:00 AM

DUBROVNIK, Australia, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- The father of an Australian backpacker found dead in Croatia is convinced his daughter was the victim of foul play.

Britt Lapthorne was last seen in a Dubrovnik nightclub in September. A fisherman found her body Monday in a cove not far away from the club.

Dale Lapthorne told the Melbourne Herald Sun he will have a second examination of his daughter's body performed in Australia. He and his son, Carren, hope to fly back to Melbourne with the body early next week.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith spoke to Britt's mother, Elke, Saturday. He said he promised her that Australian officials would remain in Dubrovnik as long as needed.

"It is a terrible, terrible nightmare and we express our deepest sympathy to the family today," Smith said.

The investigation has been dogged by apparent mistakes. This week, police told the Lapthornes the body in the cove was unlikely to be Britt, only to inform them a few days later that DNA testing had confirmed the identity.

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