Published on 29 Jun 2015 Sections ,

Tunisia attack: British deaths could exceed 30

The British death toll in the Tunisian beach massacre is expected to double to at least 30, sources say, as David Cameron pledges a “full spectrum” response to terrorism.

A total of 38 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at the resort of Sousse on Friday and the Foreign Office has already confirmed that 17 of them are British. Three Irish people are also amongst the dead.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said that there had been delays in identifying victims because they were “dressed for the beach, not carrying ID physically on them”.

“There are a significant number of victims who have not been positively identified at this time and it is highly likely that a significant proportion of them will be British,” he said.

David Cameron has pledged the UK will not be cowed by the atrocity, vowing to “stand up for our way of life” and insisting the “great British spirit” would triumph in the face of adversity.

Victims

Tributes have poured in for those killed in the beach attack, carried out by 23-year-old Seifeddine Rezgui.

Among those killed were Patrick Evans, believed to be aged 78, his son Adrian and his 19-year-old grandson Joel Richards. Darren Cooper, leader of Sandwell Council were Adrian Evans worked, said: “We are absolutely devastated for Adrian’s family, friends and colleagues, and our thoughts are with them and all those affected by this tragedy.”

Trudy Jones, a single mother of four from South Wales, was also killed in the attack. Her family released a statement saying “our beautiful mother” was “the rock of our family”.

“She’ll be missed by so many people. She was the rock of our family and kept us all going. None of us have a clue how we’re going to cope without her,” the statement said.

“Devoted husband, father and grandfather” Bruce Wilkinson, from East Yorkshire, was also among the dead. His family described him as a “kind and compassionate man, with a dry sense of humour”.

Lisa Burbidge, a grandmother from Gateshead, was described by her family as “the most beautiful, amazing, caring and gentle person in our lives.” “We have been left with a massive hole in our hearts,” a statement said.

Friends of Carly Lovett, a fashion blogger from Lincolnshire, paid emotional tributes to her on Twitter and the Bishop of Meath paid tribute to Lorna Carty, an Irish mother of two, who he said was “loved by very many people”.

Husband and wife Laurence and Martina Hayes, both aged in their 50s, from the town of Athlone in County Westmeath, were among the fatalities. Mr Hayes had worked for Bus Eireann and a company spokesman said he was “highly regarded on both a personal and professional level by all his colleagues”.

Stephen Mellor from Bodmin was killed as he shielded his wife Cheryl on the beach. She described the moment she learned he was dead, saying she was “screaming at people to check him” and when someone checked his pulse they told her “he was gone”.

Couple Sue Davey and Scott Chalkley were holidaying together when they were caught up in the attack. Their children have confirmed the pair were killed.

Severn Trent Water, for whom they both worked, said they were “much-loved by their colleagues” and had a “passion to help others however they could”.

Claire Windass from Hull was also named as one of the victims and tribute was paid to Jim and Ann McQuire from north Lanarkshire, who were described as a “close family who would be sorely missed”.

Stuart Cullen, 52, from the Lowestoft area of Suffolk, is believed to have died instantly. His wife, who was with him, was injured but survived and has returned to the UK.

Response

An RAF C17 transport plane has been deployed to Tunisia to help bring stranded tourists home and potentially to repatriate bodies. Home Secretary Theresa May is also travelling to Tunisia on Monday for talks on how to tackle the extremist threat.

Mr Cameron told BBC radio on Monday that Islamic State militants based in Syria and Iraq were planning specific attacks against Britain.

“There are people in Iraq and Syria who are plotting to carry out terrible acts in Britain and elsewhere and as long as ISIL (Islamic State) exists in those two countries we are at threat,” he said.

Britain’s international terror threat is currently set at “severe,” its second highest level, and a rung which means an attack is “highly likely.” Police say they have launched one of their largest counter-terrorism operations in a decade after the murders in Tunisia.

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