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Sarah Groves: A decade since her death

Sarah Groves: A decade since her death

Thursday 06 April 2023

Sarah Groves: A decade since her death

Thursday 06 April 2023

It has been ten years since Vic Groves answered the phone to devastating news: "It was 05:30 in the morning. It was brusque and to the point. 'Your daughter's dead, she's been murdered'."

That was how Sarah Groves parents found out she had died while travelling the world, during a stay in Kashmir with the family of a man she was in a relationship with.

Her father had to try and confirm it was a genuine phone call, adding to his confused state early in the morning.

"It was unfortunately within a couple of hours confirmed," he said. "...and so we went from there...but we didn't go very far and that's the truth of the matter. We didn't get anywhere for a long long time."


Pictured: Sarah Groves was killed in Kashmir on 6 April 2013 while travelling around India.

As has been reported on countless occasions previously, the trial of the man accused of murdering 24-year-old Sarah has been beset with delays over the past decade.

"The case itself was a farce and didn't really resemble a court case. It's been nothing like a proper trial," said Mr Groves.

The case was suspended in 2021 after 225 scheduled hearings . Only 70 of those hearings actually happened.

The man accused of killing their daughter remains in custody in Srinagar - he is "as nutty as a fruitcake" says Mr Groves. "He's a very wily character," added Mrs Groves.

Mr de Wit has previously accused Sarah of being a spy and he's written letters to countless people including the late Queen.

His mental health deteriorated to such an extent during the covid pandemic that the trial was suspended and has yet to resume.

"We've almost written that trial off," said Mr Groves, "we don't even think about it now. It's never going to reach a conclusion."

Sarah Groves

Pictured: Sarah Groves was 24 when she died.

Ten years on from her death, Mr and Mrs Groves say they still receive so much support and feel positivity around Sarah and her short life. 

"She was a delight," said her dad, while her mum agrees.

Both said the support received from Sarah's friends is equalled by those who had never met her. 

"Only a couple of days ago, a lady came over to me - a stranger - and she asked if I was Kate Groves and I thought to myself 'I know what's coming' and I said 'yes, I am' and she said 'I just want you to know that I did write to you' and I said 'I'm so sorry if I didn't reply' and she said 'oh no, I just want you to know that I think of you very often," said Mrs Groves. 

"Guernsey were playing Jersey at rugby at Footes Lane and there was an absolutely rampant Jersey supporter, and everything Jersey did was 'yeah' and everything Guernsey did was 'booo'. At the end of the game he saw me and came over and he did what that lady did and he was offering his commiserations," said Mr Groves.

Sarah Groves resized

Pictured: Sarah Groves in a picture released by her family following her death a decade ago.

Sarah had left Guernsey in 2012 to go travelling, climbing Kilimanjaro before making her way to India. She met a man who would become her boyfriend and he invited her to stay with him on a houseboat his family owned in Kashmir.

"...unfortunately she went to India against my better judgement, and my close friends tried to persuade her it was ill advised," said Mrs Groves. "But she'd had her heart broken here, and she said 'I just have to go, I've got to go. Please don't try and stop me'... What can you do...when they're 24?

"She had her plans, and she had arrangements... and those plans we felt we could plot as she was going along, not legislating for this sort of thing.

"She went to Goa and she wanted to go to an Ashram to improve her yoga skills and while she was there she saw someone without a jacket or someone who hadn't eaten for a while and she took them some food or bought them a jacket and that attracted the wrong attention," said Mrs Groves. 


Pictured: Kate and Vic Groves are still waiting for justice for their daughter a decade after her death.

As a result of the ongoing court case, which leaves the Groves family in receipt of confidential information they can't share with anyone else, Mrs Groves said she feels she has retreated from her friends and social circles during the intervening years.

"We are party to some information that is absolutely strictly confidential so you're harbouring this information that you know you cannot make a slip up about at social things, so therefore you can't talk about it, but you don't have much else to talk about it, and you don't want to bring people down by just talking about your sadness so I've retreated," she explained. 

"I've retreated quite a lot from my friends - not for any sinister reason, but it's like I can't make a slip up and you don't behave naturally."

Mrs Groves said Sarah was "the golden thread" of their family. "She's still integral to our lives," she said.

Mr Groves added: "Her name is there not just in thought but we are involved in things, the Sarah Groves Foundation for one thing - every time you mention that, you've got her name out there so you can't forget her.

"When people say 'I think of her every second of every day', well you don't clearly - but you probably do every hour or every two hours, and in the mornings when you wake up."

Mrs Groves said she keeps busy as much as she can to deal with her grief.

"The loss of Sarah's future...that's a bitter pill to swallow," she said. "Our own sons...the impact of losing her, and the circumstances, are more than most people can assimilate and live with. Then we have Isabella and Lucy (granddaughters), they are profoundly damaged by this. They adored her..."

Sarah Groves

Pictured: Sarah Groves' parents, brothers, and nieces will be quietly marking the tenth anniversary of her death.

Marking the decade anniversary of Sarah's death this week will be done quietly, with family around them, said Mrs Groves.

"We traditionally do something quietly to remember her and we do it in our own way. Her birthday is a different thing. I used to gather her friends around and they stayed close and because it's the tenth anniversary, she would have been 35 this year so I thought I'll do something with her friends to commemorate that."

"No one ever thinks it will happen to them," said Mrs Groves. "It happens to other people, not to us. "Not that you'd wish it on anyone. I'm patently aware there are other parents who have lost heart goes out to them, because it's no less painful for them. It's just different."

Mr Groves said the trial has dominated their lives for the decade since they lost their only daughter.

"We're not looking for a sympathy vote. We're no different to anyone else. What we do have is a 10-year wait and a 10-year battle that wears you down, that dominates your life, which stops you...even on holidays the calls don't stop." 

LISTEN: The interview with Mr and Mrs Groves can be heard in full below.


Remembering Sarah Groves, eight years on

Strong letter had "some limited effect" on Sarah Groves trial

Groves family launch petition as patience wears thin

Useful meeting over Sarah Groves murder trial

"Unprecedented" steps taken in Groves trial

'Parallel universes' continue for the Groves family 

"This trial has been fated from the start" - Groves family

Further trial delays as Sarah Groves family mark her 30th birthday

Prayers for Sarah Groves as murder trial stumbles on

Groves family hoping for progress today

Three consecutive days listed for Groves trial as family hope for progress

Still no news as local figures rally behind Groves

Widespread criticism of Groves trial "might be hitting a nerve

Plea issued to multi governments to intervene in Sarah Groves trial

Comment: Vic Groves - the quest for justice 

7 years on, still no justice for Sarah

Kashmiri justice system "should be ashamed of themselves"

"Lack of progress is now reaching epidemic proportions"

Fighting against the odds for justice

"We just want it to end"

Anxiously waiting for any news

"All we seek is justice for Sarah"

14,000+ urge British Government to intervene in Sarah Groves case

Five years on; the fight for justice continues

"We remain hopeful"

Hoping for help from instagrammers

Another year without justice for Sarah 

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