‘We remain a family of love’ – Letchworth dad’s fight for justice after wife is brutally gunned down in front of their children in the Philippines

Murdered mum Mia Mascariñas-Green with her husband Stuart and children Zoe, Eli and Zia. Photo: Cour

Murdered mum Mia Mascariñas-Green with her husband Stuart and children Zoe, Eli and Zia. Photo: Courtesy of Stuart Green - Credit: Archant

A dad from Letchworth is fighting for justice after his wife was brutally gunned down in front of their young children in the Philippines.

Stuart Green’s wife Mia Mascariñas-Green, a lawyer, succumbed to nine bullet wounds to the head and neck after being shot at point-blank range by gunmen who flanked her car at a bustling city intersection.

The couple’s 10-year-old daughter Zoe and 23-month-old twins Eli and Zia were in the back seat, in front of the family nanny – who jumped forward to shield the children with her body.

At least 28 shots were fired before one of the attackers’ weapons jammed, prompting them to flee on motorbikes. Not one bullet hit the children or the nanny.

Stuart said: “My wife Mia was brutally and mercilessly gunned down by several assailants in the presence of our three young children.

“She experienced losing her mother when she was six years old, so she made sure she always had time for her children. Unfortunately, history has repeated itself – this was her biggest fear.

“As she was massacred in public she did not bother to look at her assailants, but instead turned to look back to check her children were OK.”

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Stuart – a marine biologist who grew up in Letchworth – has moved his family back to the area since the shooting on February 15, but is set to return to the Philippines regularly to pursue a case against the gangsters he says orchestrated the savage killing.

He has received messages of condolence and solidarity from across the globe, and also set up a fund aiming to raise $100,000 for the children’s education.

As a professor of accounting and law, Mia was adamant that the children should have the best education possible – and with her income gone Stuart wants to be sure he can guarantee that.

A report in the Guardian newspaper has been shared online more than 11,700 times, with more than $10,000 donated to the cause. The family has also received massive support in the Philippines – where more than 10,000 people attended Mia’s wake, with 3,000 at her funeral and burial.

Mia, 49, four times saw off attempts by opponents and rivals to have her disbarred, and even received death threats – which she brushed off as just part of her job.

The Philippines is an insecure place for lawyers, rights activists and members of the press – for whom it was last year identified by the International Federation of Journalists as the second-most dangerous country in the world.

Dozens of lawyers and even a judge have been murdered in the Philippines in the past decade, with those working on environmental causes targeted particularly often.

But in his affidavit filed with the Philippine authorities, Stuart says the case that led to Mia’s death was a dispute between relatives over a hotel.

After Mia began work for businesswoman Conrada Blomqvist last year, Mrs Blomqvist’s son-in-law Lloyd Gonzaga, 34, and another man called Romarico Benegi-an, 33, were arrested when drugs and guns were found at the beach resort – but were released on bail.

Since Mia’s death in her home city of Tagbilaran – capital of the island province of Bohol – police in the Philippines have named Gonzaga and Benegi-an as prime suspects, with Gonzaga identified as an alleged ‘mastermind’ of the murder.

Stuart described his wife as a ‘born advocate’, adding: “Mia always believed that everyone, young or old, rich or poor had rights and that ultimately the legal system would work for them.

“Anyone who walked into her office deserved time and her support, and she looked after her clients very well. She leaves behind a precious legacy.”

Mia was a devoted mother who insisted on attending every event in her children’s lives, holding monthly birthdays for Zoe and the young twins Eli and Zia – who have just turned two.

Stuart said the whole family is determined to work alongside the Philippine government and police to win justice for Mia.

He said: “We remain a family of love, determined not to think or act like Mia’s brutal killers with thoughts of revenge or an ‘eye for an eye’ or ‘tooth for a tooth’.

“But while we refuse to teach our family and children to hate its perpetrators, we strongly denounce the act of evil and hatred that took away Mia’s life.

“We keep the faith that Mia will receive the justice she deserves, that the current administration is firmly and unequivocally with us in our stand for justice, and that the authorities will ensure these criminals are made accountable for their actions.”

To find out more, or if you’d like to donate to the education fund for Zoe, Zia and Eli, see youcaring.com/zoeziaandelimascarinasgreen-766914.