Libyan romance fatal for NZ mum

TONY WALL, SIMON DAY AND TESSA JOHNSTONE
Last updated 14:57 05/01/2014
Lynn Howie
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TRAGEDY: Wellington woman Lynn Howie was shot dead in Libya.
Mark De Salis
SLAIN: Mark De Salis was found dead with Howie on the beach.

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As Libyan police investigate the shooting of a New Zealand woman and her British partner there is speculation several arrests have been made in the case.

Wellington woman Lynn Howie was shot in the head execution-style alongside Mark De Salis as the two had a picnic on a beach near the city of Sabratha, 65km west of Libya's capital, Tripoli.

Mother-of-two Howie, 47, had gone there to visit her new partner and, according to a friend, was to have travelled on to London.

A report on an Arabic news website this afternoon said four people had been arrested for the killings, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trades aid it knew nothing of any arrests.

A spokesman said nothing would be confirmed until tomorrow morning because of the time difference between New Zealand and Libya, but MFAT was following the investigation closely. The report should be treated with caution, he said.

The bodies of Howie and De Salis were found on Thursday and the motive for the killings remained unclear.

MFAT said this morning it was deeply saddened by the deaths.

"We are in close contact with her next of kin and providing consular assistance to them. We are grateful for the support from British Embassy staff in Libya who have provided assistance and we will continue to work closely with them," a spokesman said.

MFAT would follow the investigation into the deaths by the Libyan authorities but asked that the family's privacy be respected, he said.

A friend of Howie's, who asked not to be named, said Howie had visited Libya to see her boyfriend.

"We always said to her, 'what a place to be in love with somebody'. You always think you are going to come home and everything is going to be all right. I hear about all the romance and the wonderful things."

She said Howie was an "absolutely amazing" woman - stylish, graceful, down to earth and lovely.

A former colleague of Howie, who also asked not to be named, said her friend had planned to continue on to London.

"She wasn't even supposed to be there for long. She was a beautiful person, you couldn't ask for a bubblier friend . . . She was hard-working and just lots of fun. She lived life to the fullest, so it didn't surprise me that she was going [to Libya]."

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- Fairfax Media

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