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GET SURREY – The family of a man shot dead and left in a torched car in St Lucia in April 2014 are “hopeful” they will finally get answers as Home Secretary Theresa May has authorised help for the investigation from UK police.
Ollie Gobat, who grew up in Esher before moving back to the Caribbean island where he was born, was 38 when he was executed on April 24 last year in a killing thought to be related to a legitimate multi-million dollar property deal he was near completing.
But a decision for UK police to help the Royal St Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) was subject to long diplomatic negotiations, as the island still holds the death penalty.
In her letter to Mr Gobat’s family sent this summer, Mrs May recognised it had been a hard time for the family.
“I can assure you that the UK government wishes to do all we can to ensure that a thorough investigation is carried out into his death and that the perpetrators of this crime are brought to justice,” she wroted.
“It was important to balance my desire to provide assistance to the investigation with the need to ensure that it was being carried out with integrity and that the safety of any UK officers involved could be guaranteed.”
Mrs May’s decision came after she was assured of the “integrity” of the investigation and had the safety of Scotland Yard and Surrey Police officers guaranteed.
The investigation into Mr Gobat’s death has been fraught since the outset, with issues including the car being moved on the night of the incident and the scene not being cordoned off.
An independent report published in April exposed corruption in the RSLPF, finding that police officers had carried out extrajudicial killings.
Mr Gobat’s mother Helen, said this week: “Once a proper investigation has begun, and with some new faces in the RSLPF since March when a report into the police was announced, we are hopeful that we will find out what happened and why.
“Revenge is not in our make-up as nothing will bring our beloved Ollie back.”
However, Mrs Gobat was “in despair” on Monday as although the family heard from Mrs May in mid-June and the RSLPF announced the initiative in August, no dates had yet been set. It is believed arrangements are now being made.
It is likely detectives from St Lucia will join with Surrey Police and look at the evidence that has been amassed, some by outside contractors, over the past 18 months.
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