January 2, 2014: Murder on Libyan beach

On January 2, 2014 a NZ/UK couple was brutally murdered by unknown terrorists in Sabratha, Libya while having a ‘romantic’ picnic on the coast.

SABRATHA, LIBYA – Many of us have experienced idyllic foreign vacations: luckily, few have died during the sojourn.

For those of us in the frozen north – well frozen for a few months of the year anyway – a week or two in sunnier, warmer climes, especially in late January or early February, is a welcome change. No more boots, toques or gloves, just lying on a beach somewhere soaking up the rays (and probably burning to a crisp at the same time!).

Yes, there are downsides. The food at the resort may not be great or the service may be spotty. And while tourists are usually warned against pickpockets and petty crime, the chances of something serious transpiring is usually next to nil. Local operators have a lot of reasons to ensure that their cash cows have a good time and thus do what they can to prevent bad stuff from affecting their visitors.

Just me and my book…oh, and my margarita! (Photo: Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi on flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Alas, this depiction of paradise is sometimes tragically inaccurate. You see, terrorists too like vacation hotspots but not for the views of scantily clad Westerners (that is sinful after all!). They see a lot of unprotected, naive targets ripe for the picking off.

On this day in 2014

A couple – she from New Zealand and he from the UK – was brutally murdered by unknown terrorists in Sabratha, Libya while having a ‘romantic’ picnic on the coast. They were shotexecution-style‘ and may have been killed out of a false sense by their assailants that they were on an ‘American spy mission‘.

Lynn (Howie) was a wonderful woman who adored her boys. She would not do anything to put herself knowingly in harm’s way. She had a love of life and experience and family and friends. 

Unidentified friend

The beach where the couple was found was accessible only by four-wheel drive and was known as a dangerous area. On that day it proved to be very dangerous for this couple. The lesson: terrorism, while rare, can happen anywhere at any time. While being paranoid is not advisable, being aware is.

Read More Today in Terrorism

Listen to the Latest Borealis Podcast

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

Leave a Reply