Funeral for Libya shooting victim tomorrow

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 14:34 21/01/2014

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A Wellington mother-of-two murdered on a remote beach in Libya will be laid to rest by her ''devastated'' loved ones in a private funeral ceremony tomorrow.

Lynn Howie, 46, was shot alongside Briton Mark De Salis, 48, as the pair picnicked on a beach near the Libyan city of Sabratha earlier this month.

The pair, who had met in New Zealand last year, were shot in what was widely reported to resemble an execution-style killing on the beach 65km west of Libya's capital, Tripoli.

Ms Howie had travelled to visit Mr De Salis, a British oil company executive, in Libya, with whom she had bought a house.

The Wellington health worker, who had been based for some time in England, had plans to study nursing and was a volunteer paramedic for the Wellington Free Ambulance service. She left behind two teenaged sons.

Her family issued a statement via New Zealand police today, as they prepared to farewell their loved one in the capital tomorrow.

''Our family has been devastated by the loss of a loved mother, sister and friend. Her unexpected passing has been difficult for everyone who knew her.''

Ms Howie's family thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the police for their "outstanding" support and compassion in the wake of the tragedy.

The investigation into the pair's deaths continues. Early reports in Libyan media suggesting arrests had been made were subsequently refuted.

A spokesman for MFAT today said New Zealand authorities were checking in for regular updates from their Libyan counterparts but there were no updates into the investigation into who was responsible for the killings.

Meanwhile, New Zealanders continue to be warned to avoid travel to Libya, which remains in a fragile political state following periods of civil unrest and the aftermath of the 2011 Libyan Civil War.

MFAT's travel warning for the North African country remains at the ''extreme'' level outside of Tripoli and ''high risk'' within the capital due to the threat of terrorism and kidnapping.

Ms Howie's family has requested privacy at tomorrow's funeral, which is being held for close friends and family.

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- The Dominion Post

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