The Telegraph:-Dominic Raab has urged the Government to do more to support families whose loved ones are murdered overseas after an 18-month delay into the investigation of a British man killed in St Lucia.
In a speech in the House of Commons today, the former justice minister called for clarity on the way UK police can supplement or support a criminal investigation abroad.
And he criticised the Home Office for failing to follow up on “clear lines of enquiry” in the case of the “execution-style murder” of British businessman Oliver Gobat.
Mr Raab has been supporting Oliver’s parents Helen and Theo Gobat – who are constituents of his – since their son’s death in April 2014.
Oliver, 38, was found dead in the passenger seat of his car, on a remote track less than two miles from the luxury hotel his family owns on the Caribbean island.
Oliver, 38, was found dead in the passenger seat of his car, on a remote track less than two miles from the luxury hotel his family owns.
The businessman – whose parents live in Surrey – was shot twice in the head before his vehicle was set alight.
Local police sources at the time of his death were reported saying it was “no ordinary” murder and it had “all the hallmarks of a professional killing”.
Yesterday, Mr Raab said there had been “no progress in the case and no proactive engagement or assistance provided by Surrey Police” – despite Theresa May pledging her “full assistance” to the family 18 months ago.
He said: “The family feel completely let down not just by the lack of progress but the failure of UK police to deliver on the kind of support approved by the Home Office.”
He added: “In particular the family want to see the level of UK assistance escalated and elevated to a more proactive role and the case moved to the Metropolitan Police, who have greater expertise and resources.”
Mr Raab also called for centralised monetary support to be provided.
He said: “My aim is to glean a wider sense of what other families in this appalling situation can, and should reasonably be able to, expect in terms of British policing support in pursuit of the perpetrators of such a heinous crime.”
In the weeks leading up to this murder, Oliver had been involved in a multi-million pound property deal and had received death threats.
Mr Raab, who described Oliver as “a very much loved man and successful real estate executive”, said the rest of his family had received death threats too.
He also referred to the “serious policing challenge” faced by St Lucia while pointing out that the Commonwealth island is visited by “hundreds of thousands of UK visitors annually”.
“I think it’s fair to say the Gobat family feel abandoned,” he said and concluded by calling for “some serious movement in terms of UK police involvement in the investigation, before it’s too late for justice in this case.
“I should also say that the request for UK support was with the encouragement and indeed the blessing of the St Lucia prime minister, with whom the family did and still d o enjoy a strong relationship.”
On Monday, Oliver’s mother Helen, 69, told The Telegraph: “We are floundering around on our own and we feel abandoned. People talk about closure but I don’t think we’ll ever get that. To fight the politics of the situation has just exacerbated our grief.”
Oliver ran the luxury Cap Maison hotel with his brothers Adam and Rufus and was said to be a popular figure on the island. The five-star hotel is set in the tropical grounds of a former sugar plantation on the northern tip of the island.
A spokesman for Surrey Police said: “The murder of Oliver Gobat is a St Lucian Police led investigation and does not involve Surrey Police and as such there are no plans for any Surrey officer to travel to the Caribbean Island. Any involvement of a British police force is a matter for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.”
A spokesman for the Home Office said: “Any request made by another country for UK police assistance would be considered by the Home Office.”