December 7, 2021

Oliver Gobat murder – new hope

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Oliver Gobat murder: Family of ex-Adelaide businessman given new hope over barbaric St Lucia ‘hit’

By Andrew Hough, From The Advertiser

Death in paradise — the unsolved murder of Oliver Gobat

The family of a former Adelaide entrepreneur murdered in the Caribbean has fresh hope of a breakthrough, amid renewed efforts to solve the baffling execution-style killing.

The murder of millionaire hotelier and property magnate Oliver Gobat remains unsolved after the apparently professional hit on Anzac Day 2014.

The 38-year-old’s body was found inside his burnt-out luxury car after he was lured to a secluded Saint Lucia road, ambushed and murdered.

Mr Gobat, who helped found Adelaide’s most exclusive gym, Next Generation, and the popular city-based Vodka Bar, was either shot or bashed and locked in his Range Rover Evoque, which was doused in aviation fuel and torched.

His body was so badly burned that authorities had to identify him through DNA.

Local homicide detectives believe Mr Gobat, known as “Ollie”, was killed by organised crime figures over his legal, multi-million dollar property deal that threatened to unravel their lucrative money laundering operations.

But the callous and clinical execution remains unsolved amid a sea of diplomatic wrangling, red tape, local police inaction and claims that British authorities have “abandoned” Mr Gobat’s grieving family.

Despite Mr Gobat’s high profile, friendship with two Saint Lucian prime ministers, huge rewards and the identification of “persons of interest” who were never interviewed, the case has stalled.

Mr Gobat’s family — including Adelaide-based relatives — now say they have new hope of a breakthrough, as the Saint Lucia Government attempts to kickstart the botched murder investigation ahead of next week’s three-year anniversary.

Oliver’s parents Theo and Helen Gobat during a visit to Adelaide. Picture: MARK BRAKE

In a significant diplomatic development, The Advertiser has learned the country’s new director of public prosecutions, Daarsrean Greene, recently wrote to the British Government seeking a “joint investigation”.

Mr Gobat’s mother, Helen Gobat, 69, said the family — who have faced death threats themselves — hoped the latest effort at co-operation can deliver “justice” for her son.

“We feel that it might just happen, even now, so late,” Ms Gobat said.

“We hope that we might get justice for Ollie as it is horrible thinking every daythat no one has been caught.”

The last person to hear from Mr Gobat before his murder was his girlfriend of more than four years, Sherlan Fontenelle, who has spoken publicly for the first time about the tragedy.

Ms Fontenelle, 34, paid tribute to her boyfriend’s zest for life, who was “so selfless and full of life and love”.

“Whenever people ask about Ollie, all those cliche phrases spring to mind immediately — ‘larger than life’ and ‘the life of the party’,” Ms Fontenelle told The Advertiser.

“As cliched as they sound, they described him perfectly though. I can’t think of one dinner we’ve had where he didn’t have everyone in stitches (of laughter) at some point.

“And that enigmatic personality just rolled off him effortlessly. He had an inherent desire to make everyone happy.”

The cosmetic, fragrance and skin product store owner said her sports-loving partner volunteered as a tourist guide because of his pride in Saint Lucia, which was “forever in his heart and a place he called home” and which he hoped to represent at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in squash.

“No one deserves such a violent and brutal death but I can’t think of anyone less deserving of what happened (than) Ollie,” she said.

“I miss him every day and everything around me is a reminder because there isn’t one aspect of life that Ollie didn’t enjoy or encourage everyone else to.”

Mr Gobat was executive director of The Landings resort before his murder.
The country’s former prime minister, Dr Kenny Anthony, 66, has also relayed his deep frustrations over the inability or unwillingness to progress the case.

It is understood Saint Lucian officials want to enlist Scotland Yard, instead of Surrey Police, because London Metropolitan Police’s Homicide and Major Crime command has more resources to tackle such a complex crime.

The new approach was made with the knowledge of the country’s current Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, who played golf with Mr Gobat three hours before his friend’s death.

The correspondence, to Britain’s Home Office and current Prime Minister, Theresa May, sought official help — because Mr Gobat was a British national, who also held St Lucian and Australian citizenships.

Both Mr Chastanet and the DPP declined to comment due to the “ongoing investigation”.

A spokeswoman for Mr Chastanet added: “We remain committed to the proper resolution of all crimes committed in Saint Lucia.”

Mrs May, then Britain’s Home Secretary, approved British help in January 2015 after concerns about local death penalty laws were addressed.

But adequate help has not materialised, Mr Gobat’s family say.

No British officer has travelled to St Lucia, a Commonwealth member, while relatives are outraged by the absence of UK police contact for more than a year.

Dr Anthony, a family friend for more than 50 years, said he shared the family’s “pain and anguish”.

He said the “murder continues to haunt me to this day” amid many unanswered questions.

“I was horrified, distressed and bewildered when I got the news of Ollie’s murder,” he said. “The recurring question was this: why would anyone wish to murder Ollie?

“From the moment that I was told, I knew instantly that there would be serious consequences for Saint Lucia, internationally and otherwise.

“We do have a serious problem of crime in our country. The evidence speaks volumes, so it makes no sense to pretend otherwise.”

Dr Anthony added: “In the days following (the murder), there were momentary glimmers that the police were making progress.

“Those hopes were soon dashed as nothing concrete emerged.

“It is difficult to accept that given our small size and the fact that most of us know each other, such crimes can remain unresolved.”

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said no request had been made “at this stage”, while the Home Office had no comment.

The barbaric crime has left residents on the tiny island stunned.

Oliver Gobat: UK police in fresh hunt for killers
Oliver Gobat pictured with family in Sydney in December 2013 whilst travelling for the Ashes. Photo supplied by family
Oliver Gobat pictured at a family wedding at St Peter’s College in Adelaide in December 2010. Photo supplied by family
Former Australian Prime Minister and the then St Lucia leader Dr Kenny Anthony Picture: by Peter West/ Auspic
Oliver Gobat pictured off the coast of St Lucia. Picture: Supplied
The Gobat family own the luxury Cap Maison resort on Saint Lucia
Oliver Gobat flanked by female friends, including girlfriend Sherlan Fontenelle, front row second right, off the coast of St Lucia. Picture: Supplied
Oliver Gobat and best friend Andrew Barnard having climbed the Gros Piton mountain in St Lucia. Picture: Supplied by family.
Helen, Rufus, Theo, Oliver and Adam Gobat climbing the Gros Piton on St Lucia. Picture: Supplied by family.
Oliver Gobat’s burnt out car in St Lucia.
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