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Shot Libya Briton 'in wrong place'

A British man who was shot dead with his girlfriend on a beach in Libya was in the wrong place at the wrong time, a coroner said today.

Mark Fane de Salis, 48, was found face-down on a beach near Tripoli on January 2.

His inquest heard that he and his girlfriend Lynn Howie, a New Zealander, were shot in the back of the head.

Senior coroner for Bedfordshire and Luton Tom Osborne, who recorded a conclusion of unlawful killing, told the hearing at Ampthill, Bedfordshire: "It seems Mark was working to restore infrastructure in Libya. It was unfortunate he was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

The dead man, originally from Shefford, Beds, was living in the North African country and working for First Engineering Group as a power station project manager.

Both he and his girlfriend had gunshot wounds to the head.

Detective Sergeant Andy Phillips from New Scotland Yard said the Foreign Office asked the police to act as a conduit between Britain and Libya.

Neither the Metropolitan Police 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.

It was a totally motiveless crime, he said.

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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