The 38-year-old yacht captain and master of the 50m (164ft) Perini Navi sailing yacht Perseus had, according to reports, been walking home from a local bar with his girlfriend Alena Sitkova and their 21-month-old child Carolina, who were visiting the island at the time of the incident. Reports say that at around 23:00 local time on Thursday, January 22, a man approached demanding money while holding a gun and threatening Alena. Gollan, acting in her defence, tried to prevent the attack and during the ensuing struggle, the gun fell to the ground and went off slightly injuring his girlfriend in her foot.
Recovering the fallen the weapon, the attacker then reportedly fired three shots into Gollan’s chest. Attempts made to keep him alive in the back of a pickup truck as it raced towards the hospital in St John, the island’s capital on the other side of the island, failed and he was pronounced dead on arrival.
At the time of the incident Gollan was renting an apartment on the road to Pigeon Point Beach, a favourite chill-out spot for yacht crew whose yachts are moored in the local marinas. The killing comes hot on the heels of the double murder of a British couple who were holidaying on the island last year. Then the honeymoon couple, Catherine and Benjamin Mullany from Pontardawe, South Wales, were shot dead in their holiday bungalow in Antigua. Two men have subsequently been charged with their murders.
In an emergency meeting hastily called and held at the Copper and Lumber Store, a hotel in Nelson’s Dockyard, the Hon Baldwin Spencer, Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda, told a meeting: “Antigua is still a safe place to be. It’s an unfortunate situation, however, we are all hoping that justice will be done to the perpetrator(s).” He confirmed that the island’s police force had yet to apprehend anyone in connection with the crime as the meeting went on to discuss what has been described as “safe and preventative measures to combat the situation”.
As islanders mourn, the general feedback from the yachting community is to ask “Why?”. Some captains are reported to be considering the idea of leaving the island and one report received here in the UK suggests that four have already left.