UK Go­bat In­quest: More Bad Pub­lic­ity For Saint Lu­cia?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By STAR Re­porter

This week Saint Lu­cia’s name was splat­tered all over the in­ter­na­tional me­dia, even as the re­ac­tion to the prime min­is­ter’s ad­dress on the IMPACS re­port has hardly cooled down in the for­eign press.

On Thurs­day, a num­ber of news­pa­pers in the UK were re­port­ing that Bri­tish hote­lier Ol­l­lie Go­bat who was shot dead in St Lu­cia ‘had re­ceived death threats over con­tro­ver­sial £5.4m re­sort deal.’ The body of the 38-year-old was dis­cov­ered in the pas­sen­ger seat of his burnt SUV at Cap Es­tate back in April of 2014. He had been shot twice.

Ollie Go­bat who was born in Saint Lu­cia was raised in Sur­rey, Eng­land. His mur­der has drawn the at­ten­tion of Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties as well as those in Australia where he had also resided.

An in­quest be­ing held in Work­ing, Sur­rey, heard that Mr. Go­bat was help­ing to or­ga­nize the £5.4mil­lion ($8mil­lion) takeover of The Land­ings, a luxury beach re­sort here in St Lu­cia which had be­come in­sol­vent. But a ri­val bid­der or­ga­nized a ‘smear cam­paign’ against him, and the 38-year-old had re­ceived death threats - which he hid from his fam­ily.

Mother He­len Go­bat told the hear­ing: ‘He was the vic­tim of a smear cam­paign. There was a blog set up called Pi­rates of the Caribbean. It was in­tended to dam­age his rep­u­ta­tion. We sub­se­quently learned he had re­ceived death threats.’

His brother Adam - who said Mr Go­bat was a very like­able per­son - added: ‘It tran­spires that the per­son who was be­hind the smear cam­paign was a ri­val bid­der to buy The Land­ings. That per­son is a UK cit­i­zen.’ The vic­tim’s brother also re­vealed that af­ter The Land­ings deal was com­pleted fol­low­ing Mr Go­bat’s death, an­other sig­na­tory to the con­sor­tium re­ceived a death threat.

Mrs. Go­bat told the coro­ner her son, who had worked on St Lu­cia for 10 years be­fore his death, had prob­a­bly never ex­pected any­one to kill him over his busi­ness deal­ings but ad­mit­ted there was likely to have been ‘jeal­ousy’ to­wards his suc­cess on the is­land. He’s a good look­ing, suc­cess­ful chap in St Lu­cia and it’s a small com­mu­nity so there’s a lot of jeal­ousy that goes around. ‘There were com­peti­tors in prop­erty and I guess they didn’t want him to be any more suc­cess­ful by putting the deal to­gether.

‘It was a case of think­ing the un­think­able. Why would he think some­body would knock him off for putting through a le­git­i­mate busi­ness deal with le­git­i­mate busi­ness part­ners?’

Mrs. Go­bat has also been very crit­i­cal of the role of the po­lice whom she said had made er­rors at the crime scene, in­clud­ing mov­ing the Range Rover on the night her son was found dead and fail­ing to cor­don off the area.

Last year, the Go­bat fam­ily of­fered a re­ward for in­for­ma­tion lead­ing to the suc­cess­ful pros­e­cu­tion of per­son(s) in­volved in Ollie Go­bat’s mur­der. They also of­fered to ob­tain mod­ern foren­sic ex­per­tise to as­sist lo­cal po­lice and has since em­ployed a pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor to look into the case.

As­sis­tant Coro­ner for Sur­rey, Dr Karin Englehart, recorded a ver­dict of un­law­ful killing, say­ing the ‘man­ner and mech­a­nism’ of Mr Go­bat’s death were clear.

Dr Englehart said it was not her place to com­ment on the pos­si­ble rea­sons for his mur­der.

She said: ‘The man­ner of Ollie’s death is a ter­ri­ble, ter­ri­ble tragedy that no fam­ily should have to en­dure. No-one should die in this way.

‘It had to be some­one or some oth­ers, for what­ever rea­son, and that is the pur­pose of other courts, a crim­i­nal court, to deal with.

‘The man­ner and mech­a­nism of Ollie’s death must be un­en­durable for both Ollie’s par­ents, his broth­ers and friends and I of­fer my sin­cere con­do­lences to you all.’

He­len and Theo Go­bat with their legal rep­re­sen­ta­tive Peter Foster (cen­ter) at a press con­fer­ence here last

year.

Ollie Go­bat.

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