Mark Fane de Salis Libya death inquest: Couple had bullet wounds in heads

Mark De Salis Power station project manager Mark Fane de Salis had lived in Libya for six years

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A British man found shot dead on a beach in Libya with his girlfriend was "in the wrong place at the wrong time", an inquest has heard.

Mark Fane de Salis, 48, originally from Shefford, Bedfordshire, and Lynn Howie, a New Zealander, were found face-down in the sand near Tripoli on 2 January.

Coroner Tom Osborne said both had bullet wounds in the backs of their heads. Their killers were not found.

At a hearing in Ampthill, he recorded a conclusion of unlawful killing.

"It seems Mark was working to restore infrastructure in Libya. It was unfortunate he was in the wrong place at the wrong time," Mr Osborne said

Mr Fane de Salis, a power station project manager, was living in the North African country and working for First Engineering Group.

Det Sgt Andy Phillips from New Scotland Yard said it was a totally motiveless crime.

He said the Foreign Office asked the Metropolitan Police to act as the link between Britain and Libya.

Neither the force nor the Libyan authorities had been able to ascertain who was responsible for the deaths.

Foreign Office advice at the time was not to travel to Libya and even local police said it was an area where they would not go.

Photos taken from their camera showed the couple had been out to look at Roman ruins then had a picnic on the beach.

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