Family’s shock after Sheffield man shot dead

Mark De Salis who has been named as the British man shot dead in Libya
Mark De Salis who has been named as the British man shot dead in Libya
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The family of a man from Sheffield shot dead on a beach have said they are ‘shocked and devastated’ by the killing.

Mark De Salis, aged 48, who was born in the city and used to live in Wadsley, was found lifeless next to a female friend on a beach in North Africa, both having suffered fatal gunshot wounds.

Mr De Salis had been working in Libya for an engineering company servicing the oil industry after moving from Sheffield six years ago.

His wife Karen, 48, a former teacher, travelled with him, but returned to the UK in 2011 and now lives in Cornwall.

Her husband’s dead companion has been named as mum-of-two Lynn Howie, 47, from New Zealand, who was described as a ‘close friend’.

The incident happened near the coastal area of Mellitah in the west of Libya, and the two bodies have been taken to capital city Tripoli for post-mortem examinations.

In a statement released through the Foreign Office, Mr De Salis’s family said: “We are shocked and devastated to hear about Mark’s death in Libya. Mark had been working in Tripoli for six years.

“He worked for First Engineering and was currently working as a power manager bringing generators to Tripoli to provide electricity.

“Mark enjoyed his work and liked the Libyan people.”

The family added: “Mark enjoyed travelling and had travelled extensively. He was a decent and incredibly loyal man and he was loved by many.

“He will be sadly missed by his family and friends.

“Mark was with a close friend from New Zealand who was also killed and our thoughts are with her family at this sad time.”

Mr De Salis, previously an RAF flight lieutenant, left the air force in 1993.

A photograph claimed to be of the dead pair has been posted on Facebook. The picture, taken at night, shows them both lying face down on sand.

Near them is a picnic blanket with their belongings spread out on it, alongside a backpack.

The Foreign Office said: “We call upon the Libyan government to carry out a thorough investigation into this tragic incident and to continue to do all it can to bring to justice the perpetrators of this appalling crime.”

Last month the office said attacks against Westerners were ‘likely’ after an American teacher was shot dead in the eastern city of Benghazi.

The country has become increasingly violent since former ruler Colonel Gaddafi was overthrown two years ago, in an operation supported by British air strikes.

The Foreign Office advises against all travel to most parts of Libya, including Benghazi, and against all but essential travel to coastal areas to the west and east, including Tripoli. It warns of a ‘high threat from terrorism including kidnapping’.