Irish police clarify reports of murder investigation

Although they were aware of threats to the solicitor acting for Latvian murder victim Baiba Saulīte, Irish police (the Garda)  have clarified that they never provided armed personal protection to him, the Garda Press Office said in a Nov. 22 statement.

Police also have learned Saulīte, who was shot and killed Nov. 19 in what has been described as a “professional hit,” was concerned for her safety.

The press office issued the statement is response to what it said has been some inaccurate reporting in the media.

Both the solicitor and Saulīte were advised on how to protect both their property and themselves, police said.

“During the course of investigations over the last number of years,” the statement reads, “Gardaí became aware of threats to a solicitor.”

The solicitor acted on Saulīte’s behalf in a dispute she was having with her estranged husband. Saulīte died at her home north of Dublin in what apparently was a murder for hire. Her two sons, ages 3 and 5, were asleep in the home.

“Once Gardaí became aware of the existence of these threats, the solicitor was immediately advised,” the press office statement continues. “Extensive crime prevention advice was also given to the solicitor including enhancements he could make to his properties and personal safety. His properties were subject to security surveys by trained Garda personnel and these surveys were supplied to him.

“As is normal procedure in such cases, the properties of this subject would have received attention from Garda patrols, both uniformed and armed. At no time, prior to Ms. Saulīte’s murder, was full-time armed personal protection supplied to this man.

“Due to the links between Ms. Saulīte and the solicitor in question, Ms. Saulīte was also given crime prevention advice regarding her property and personal safety.

“At no time, prior to her tragic death, were Gardaí aware of any specific threat against the life of Ms. Baiba Saulīte and no complaints were received by Gardai from any person in this regard.”

Saulīte was killed as she was visiting with two or three friends at her home, which is in the Hollywell neighborhood of Swords, a community north of Dublin.

“As part of the murder investigation,” the police statement continues, “house-to-house enquiries are ongoing in the Hollywell area and the Gardaí have now learned that Ms. Saulīte expressed concerns to friends and neighbours regarding her safety. We have also established that in the course of preparing a document for court use in the sentencing of her husband, Ms. Saulīte expressed concerns for her safety and appeared to be somewhat in fear of him.”

The commissioner of the Garda, the statement adds, is now investigating “when and to whom this information was known.”

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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