After Capture Of Suspect, Details Emerge About Double Murder In Solomon Islands

Attack on Chinese couple carried out using long bush knife

By Assumpta Buchanan

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, ) – Jimson Erega Goufi repeatedly struck Gong Zhen Lao with a long bush knife on the day the Chinese couple were murdered, the Court heard yesterday.

Goufi, who surrendered to police on Monday, faces two counts of murder in relation to the double Easter murder, when he appeared in court.

[PIR editor's note: On May 16, 2017 Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corp reported that 'Police say they are closing in on the second suspect in the Easter double murder case, after the first turned himself in yesterday. ... In a press conference in Honiara today Police Commissioner Matthew Varley revealed they have approached friends and family of the man, who is believed to be hiding out in Malaita, to try and convince him to give himself up.']

A large crowd descended on the Honiara Magistrate Court when police escorted Goufi into the court.

Public Prosecutor Olivia Ratu, who applied for the Goufi’s remand, told the court that on 15 April 2017, Goufi who was a security guard employed by the “Dependent Security Service” attended work with other female workers at the LGZ Enterprise Shop.

“At 6pm after closure of the LGZ bottle shop and the Kai Bar, the female workers signed off and left the LGZ shop, leaving the defendant (security) alone with the Chinese couple, Gong Zhen Lao and his wife Wu Yuegui.

“During this hour the middle shop was still open as it normally closes at 7pm,” Ms Ratu told the court.

The court heard that before 7pm, the defendant shut up all the shop windows.

Goufi then walked to the shop door and before winding down it down, his associate walked inside the shop before he closed down the door.

Ms Ratu told the court it was from this instance that the offender’s associate jumped on top of the shop counter with his long bush knife and strike it against Lao who was busy with business papers.

“The knife landed on the victim’s head.”

It was heard that Goufi’s associate again strike the knife on the victim before Goufi intervened and got hold of the same long bush knife and repeatedly strike it on Lao, which landed him on the floor laying helplessly.

Whilst Goufi continued on wounding Lao, the wife having heard something amiss went to where her husband was.

Ms Ratu said Goufi’s associate saw her and attacked her, severely wounded her with a small kitchen knife on her body and one fatal wound on her throat.

She said after they observed the victim was no longer breathing, Goufi and his associate walked into the main shop and helped themselves looting money from the shop cashier, bottle shop.

They packed it inside a small school bag before they exit the building.

On Monday morning 17 April 2017, female workers of the shop together with Goufi attended work but noticed the shop security lights were still on.

“The female workers made several attempts for the shop owners to open the door but with no response,” Ms Ratu told the court.

“They further stood outside the building area making few mobile phone calls to the couple but there was no response.

“Finally Goufi climbed up the western end gate fence and on his return, told the female workers that the couple were laying dead inside the shop.”

Police were then alerted of the discovery, attended the crime scene, and later identified the suspects after they mounted an investigation.

They however, received information that both suspects fled to Malaita that same week.

Goufi was arrested on Monday 15 May 2017 after he surrendered himself to police.

This was after he escaped a police raid the previous week in Malaita.

Ms Ratu said Goufi participated in a record of interview where he admitted his involvement in the killing of the Chinese couple.

She asked for a 14-day remand on the grounds of the nature of offence of which she said the offence in which Goufi is being charged for is serious and carries a life imprisonment, the offence committed involved two deceased (couple) of Chinese National and are Solomon Islands Naturalized Citizen.

She also said there is likelihood the accused will interfere with witnesses based on the fact that some of the witnesses in this matter reside in Honiara and are neighbours of the defendant and if out on bail, it was highly likely of him interfering, to allow police investigation to run smoothly, the matter is of public interest and Goufi’s associate is still at large.

Principal Magistrate Augustine Aulanga who heard the remand application agreed to the grounds submitted by the prosecution and granted a 14-day remand.

Goufi will appear again at the Honiara Magistrate’s Court on May 30.

Daniel Kwalai of Public Solicitor’s Office appeared for Goufi yesterday.

Solomon Star
Copyright © 2017 Solomon Star. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
Average: 3.8 (10 votes)

Add new comment