Social Workers Comfort Children After Shooting

Social workers were yesterday trying to comfort two little children after their mother was gunned down at her home in an apparent professional assassination. Baiba Saulite, 28, and from Latvia, was shot at close range a number of times while chatting with friends at the doorway to her home in Holywell Square, Swords, north Dublin, shortly before 10pm on Sunday.

Gardaí yesterday said they were looking at a number of “domestic” issues as part of the investigation and were also examining any possible link with organised Latvian criminals.

Ms Saulite died instantly after being shot, leaving her two children, who were sleeping in an upstairs bedroom, without their mother.

Mohammed Rami Hassan, three, and Ali Alexsandre Hassan, five, were taken into the care of the social workers.

Their father and Ms Saulite’s estranged husband, Hassan Hassan, is currently in custody in Mountjoy Prison on a separate matter.

Ms Saulite was embroiled in a public row with Mr Hassan in January 2005 when she claimed she had not seen her two children since her estranged partner took them the previous December.

Mr Hassan served almost three weeks in jail for contempt of court after refusing to comply with two court orders to hand over the children.

A garda spokesman yesterday confirmed they were investigating a number of issues, including “domestic” ones. “There are a range of issues there on the table, including perhaps a number of domestic issues, that may or may not be relevant as the investigation moves forward, but specifically there’s no clear motivation coming out at this stage,” Superintendent Kevin Donohoe.

Investigating gardaí informed Mr Hassan of Ms Saulite’s death in Mountjoy Prison shortly after the incident.

Supt Donoghue said the lone gunman was not fully masked, but wore a cap and was “heavily dressed”. He was aided by an accomplice who was driving.

Justice Minister Michael McDowell said the shooting was particularly horrific.