VILNIUS - On April 19, citizens of the Scottish city of Arbroath said farewell to Jolanta Bledaite, a Lithuanian woman who came to the country in search of a better life. Bledaite instead met with an untimely death at the hands of vicious killers.
The memorial service was conducted by Reverend Kevin Golden of the St. Thomas Roman Catholic Church. Lithuanian Ambassador to the U.K. Vygaudas Usackas and British representative to Lithuania Bill Toner attended the remembrance ceremony.
Sue Smith of Arbroath, the organizer of the ceremony, has returned from Alytus in Lithuania with pebbles from Jolanta's family and fresh flowers from the city mayor. The pebbles were blessed by Father Golden and placed scattered on the beach where Jolanta's remains were found three weeks ago.
Bledaite's body will be shipped back to Lithuania to be buried in Alytus.
Two Lithuanian men, Vitas Plytnikas, 40, and Aleksandras Skirda, 19, were taken into custody shortly after the killing and have been charged with murder. The Angus police force continues to provide comfort to the communities of both Arbroath and Brechin.
After the two men appeared in court for the second time, Chief Superintendent Alan Campbell reassured residents that there will continue to be a high police presence in both towns.
"The death of Jolanta Bledaite shocked and saddened us all and my thoughts are with her family and friends. Angus boasts the lowest recorded level of violent crime on the Scottish mainland. That said, we are never complacent and seek to ensure that everyone who lives, works or visits our towns feel safe," he said.
"We will continue forging the links with our migrant worker communities. By doing this we will understand better their needs and concerns which will assist in engendering the confidence to report matters to us. There may be language barriers, but we have access to a range of official interpreters if necessary," the superintendent said.
The Tayside Police in Angus have a hotline, open 24 hours a day, where information can be passed on anonymously to Crimestoppers.
Bledaite lived and worked in Brechin for a year and a half before her tragic death. Located about 40 miles from Aberdeen and 100 miles from Edinburgh, Brechin is an agricultural area. It is a popular area for migrant workers.
"Guest workers from Eastern Europe are a tremendous resource for us 's the skills they bring are highly valued by our businesses. Most guest workers in Brechin are employed in soft fruit and potato production," John Williams, vice-chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses in Brechin, told The Baltic Times.
Williams said the area was still eager to house guest workers, assuring people that it is a safe environment despite the recent incident.
"Even though employment in agriculture is highly seasonal, the government of Scotland is interested to retain East European workers long term. Small business in Brechin is tremendously reliant on their skills and energy. The tragic death of Jolanta was not at all indigenous to the local community 's Scotland is still a very safe and beautiful place to live. Guest workers are very welcome here," he said.
This was not the first time an emigrant from the Baltic states was murdered while working abroad. In July 2006, a Harrod's shop assistant, 27-year-old Egeli Rasta from Estonia, was found dead on Mitcham Common in South London, an area in which she frequently jogged and sunbathed.
In this case the British police again moved quickly to apprehend a local man responsible for the killing.