Saulite murder left children ‘without a mother’s love’

THE violent shooting of Baiba Saulite was a “callous and brutal murder” which had left her two children without the “love and protection of a mother,” a coroner has said.

Ms Saulite, aged 28, of Holywell Square, Feltrim Road, Swords, was shot three times by a lone gunman, while smoking a cigarette at the front door of her home with a friend on November 19, 2006.

Her two young sons, Ali Alexandre, 5, and Mohammed Rami, 3, were sleeping upstairs at the time.

Detective Superintendent Walter O’Sullivan told the inquest that Ms Saulite was “specifically targeted” and that gardaí believe the person who shot her was contracted to do so by a third party.

“It was apparent from very early on in the investigation that sinister and heartless persons of a serious criminal ilk were involved in the deliberate and violent taking of this young woman’s life,” Det Supt O’Sullivan told Dublin County Coroner’s Court.

A file was sent to the DPP and no prosecutions were directed which the detective superintendent told coroner Kieran Geraghty “came as a surprise”.

He said the recommendation was for a prosecution but added that the DPP is an independent body.

The murder investigation has reached a point where it cannot be progressed any further in the absence of new information, he said.

A jury at Dublin County Coroner’s Court returned a unanimous verdict of death by unlawful killing.

Dr Geraghty said it was “a pity a jury didn’t get to hear all of the evidence” in the case.

Dublin County Coroner’s Court heard the mother of two from Riga and her friend and housemate Mudita Antane, aged 53, were standing at the front door of the rented house at Holywell Square, smoking cigarettes, when Ms Saulite was shot at 9.50pm.

Ms Antane, who cried silently while giving evidence at the inquest yesterday, said that she was standing beside Ms Saulite when she noticed a person in grey come from the right side.

“I saw he had a gun. When he fired the first shot, I heard the bang… I think I heard two shots.”

The individual ran away and jumped into an awaiting vehicle.

The mother of two staggered inside, clutching her chest, before collapsing in the hall outside the kitchen door.

A friend of Ms Saulite’s, Inese Grabante, had left the company of the two women just seconds earlier and also witnessed the shooting.

Another housemate was in the living room and heard the commotion.

A postmortem by the state pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy found the death was due to gunshot wounds to the chest and contributory gunshot wounds to the right arm.

The inquest heard evidence that Ms Saulite was in fear of being harmed.

There were knocks to the door and ringing at the doorbell on two occasions on the evening of the shooting, the last at around 9pm.

Det Supt O’Sullivan said it was probably some preparatory work for the murder.

On the first occasion, the mother of two was not there and her two housemates did not open the door.

Ms Antane said Ms Saulite “had told them not to answer the door to anybody”.

On the second occasion, Ms Saulite called out, first in Latvian and then in English, and a man replied he was looking for a pizza delivery address.

Ms Saulite did not answer the door and informed the man it was the wrong address.

“We know from our investigations she had a fear of a person or persons she had an association with who might harm her and for that reason she was afraid,” to open to door, Det Supt O’Sullivan said.

An extensive investigation was launched and gardaí were “strongly committed to the murder investigation”, he said.

The children are abroad in the care of a relative.

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