Published on 1 Jul 2015 Sections , ,

Tunisia attack: bodies of eight victims arrive in UK

The bodies of eight Britons who were killed by a gunman in Tunisia last week have returned to the UK.

An RAF plane landed Brize Norton airbase in Oxfordshire this afternoon carrying the bodies of Adrian Evans, Charles Evans, Joel Richards, Carly Lovett, Stephen Mellor, John Stollery, and Denis and Elaine Thwaites, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said.

They were among 38 tourists who were shot dead at the beach resort of Sousse on Friday. The gunman, 23-year-old Tunisian Seifeddine Rezgui, was killed at the scene by Tunisian authorities.

A final British death toll has not yet been released but it’s thought 30 British nationals were murdered in the attack. The three Irish victims will be flown home within 24 hours, Foreign Affairs minister Charlie Flanagan has said.

The bodies that were flown home today will be released to their bereaved families as soon as post-mortem examinations have been carried out.

Chief coroner for England and Wales His Honour Judge Peter Thornton QC said, “the bereaved families of those who died in Tunisia will be at the heart of this investigation process. The utmost consideration will be given to these families throughout this process.”

Mr Thornton added that while there will be an inquest for each of those killed, they will likely be held together “in view of the circumstances of the killings”.

All of the Britons wounded in the attack are now back in the UK and are being treated at hospitals in Birmingham, Oxford, Plymouth and London.

Victims

As the plane landed a statement was released on behalf of Suzanne Richards, who lost her son, husband and father in the killings. Joel Richards, Adrian Evans and Patrick Evans were killed within the first 24 hours of their holiday in Sousse.

In her statement, Mrs Richards said: “My son Joel, dad Pat and brother Adrian were our rocks and we are all heartbroken and devastated and will never get over losing them.

We are a very small and normal family, but nothing will ever be normal again.”

The latest victims to have been named are Christopher and Sharon Bell from Leeds. Their family have released a statement saying they are “deeply saddened” by their deaths.

David Cameron has told MPs that he is looking to create a ministerial committee to co-ordinate work across Government “to provide all the support that the victims of this appalling attack deserve and also to make sure that, as a nation, we mark and commemorate this event appropriately”.