herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Gardai failed to warn Baiba of threats on life

Biaba Saulite. Photo: Ray Cullen
Biaba Saulite. Photo: Ray Cullen

MURDERED Latvian woman, Baiba Saulite, whose children were abducted before her death, was the victim of a garda "systems failure."

According to Liam Hughes, a former garda sergeant who was investigating the abduction of her two children in 2004, there was a threat to the mother's life contrary to gardai information stating otherwise.

In 2006 she was shot outside her home in Swords, north Dublin and in 2011 more than 20 people were arrested in relation to her murder.

Abduction

Her assassination followed the abduction of her kids.

She went on radio pleading for information from the public about her missing children, after their father Hassan Hassan had abducted them in December 2004.

He defied a court order to return them to their mother.

And in 2005, garda intelligence suggested Hassan was a serious criminal "capable of anything."

And now Mr Hughes is seeking to have the murdered mother-of-two's case independently reviewed.

He disagrees with earlier garda intelligence that there was no "specific threat" to the 28-year-old's life.

"I think we're playing with words there," he said.

"If you look at all the cases that were there, and the information that was available to the gardai over two years, you could see there was a pattern forming and a threat emanating," Mr Hughes said.

In a report yesterday it was stated the garda investigation into her death was "ongoing."

Gardai said: "It would be inappropriate to furnish any additional information at this time."

Ms Saulite was reported as saying that the father of her children was violent towards her during their relationship together.

When Hassan abducted the children, then aged 17 months and two years, they were taken from Ireland to Syria, where they were cared for by Hassan's mother until he returned to Ireland in September 2005.

Hassan, who spent two years in jail for the abduction of his children, was charged for threatening to kill his sister from behind bars.

Acquitted

The Lebanese man was acquitted of threatening to kill his sister after two prosecution witnesses failed to appear in court.

Miss Saulite was shot dead outside her home while she smoked a cigarette as her two young children were asleep in bed.

Detectives believe Ms Saulite was murdered by a man known to her.

She knew she was in danger and was in regular contact with gardai.

Her Swords-based solicitor was given garda protection in the weeks before the killing.

jfegan@herald.ie

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