Motive Behind Solomon Island Murder Likely Theft

Police say suspects may have gotten away with at least $74,000 in cash

By Bira’au W. Saeni, in Auki

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 18, 2017) – The two men suspected of the double Easter murder may have gotten away with more than $600,000 [US$74,000] in cash.

Although investigators had found $290,000 [US$36,000] in cash at the crime scene, they were unable to establish how much the killers got away with.

Investigators believed the motive behind the killing was to steal.

A police brief submitted to the court on Tuesday when the accused Jimson Goufi appeared stated that after the couple were killed, the two suspects helped themselves with cash inside the shop.

They then packed them in a school bag before they exited the building.

Information the Solomon Star obtained from relatives said the bag the two suspects took contained up to $600,000.

Goufi disclosed the information to relatives before he surrendered to police at his Adatolo, his home village in Malaita, on Monday.

A relative said the two suspects also separately pocketed undisclosed amounts of cash.

A member of the investigation team in Malaita said they were yet to recover any cash from the suspects.

He said they were questioning a church pastor who was detained at Auki police, and who they believed may have information about the stolen cash.

The exact amount of stolen cash may never be known.

Meanwhile, investigators had ruled out any overseas connection to killing.

Sources familiar with the investigation told the Solomon Star they found no evidence of any overseas links.

Immediately after the bodies were found inside their shop on the morning of 17 April 2017, there were suspicions that the killing may be linked to overseas Chinese criminal gangs.

But sources said they’ve established those who did the killing did so at their own volition.

“There’s absolutely no overseas connection to this case,” one source said.

“The suspects who did this initiated the move simply to kill and steal,” he added.

Investigators also believed a church pastor who is being detained at Auki police has information about the killing and stealing.

The pastor was in Malaita when the killing took place.

He then travelled over to Honiara and met the two suspects before they returned together to Malaita, three days after the bodies were discovered.

Investigators said when police questioned him, the pastor denied any links.

However, police believed the pastor had information about the stolen cash.

Solomon Star
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