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  1. ITV Report

'Extraordinary courage' of teen who tried to save his grandfather from Tunisia holiday terrorist

A teenager who tried to save his grandfather from a terrorist gunman during a family holiday has been hailed for his "extraordinary bravery."

Owen Richards was at the start of a family holiday in Tunisia in June 2015 when extremist Seifeddine Rezgui killed his brother, grandfather and uncle in their beach resort hotel.

Owen, who was 16 at the time, tried to shield his grandfather Charles Patrick Evans from Rezgui, who killed 38 people in his rampage at the five-star Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel.

Mr Evans, known to his family as Pat, his son Adrian Evans, 49, and grandson Joel Richards, Owen's 19-year-old brother, were shot dead within 12 hours of arriving in the Sousse beach resort.

The five-star Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel Credit: PA

The West Midlands family were on a "boys" holiday to celebrate Owen completing his GCSEs and had visited the same hotel several times before, including when Joel finished his GCSEs and A-levels.

Inquests at the Royal Courts of Justice heard how the family were sat in the outdoor pool area when they heard gunshots from the direction of the beach.

As guests began to flee, both teenagers ran to the older men, who were sitting on sun loungers, before making for the hotel.

Once inside they pressed the button for the lift but decided not to wait for it to arrive and ran to the indoor pool as Rezgui made his way around the corner.

Owen Richards' statement to police describing how his family were killed:

On the way grandad kept falling over so he was not very fast.

I saw the person running after us and he just came around the corner. Clearly we knew he had caught up with us.

Ade (Adrian) dived down and laid down. I was still holding grandad, trying to help him run.

[As the gunman approached, Mr Evans fell to the floor]

I was hugging grandad on the floor and then I could see out of my right hand corner my brother and seeing him dive to the floor. Then Joel screamed - I think he shouted 'no' three times, like pleading him to stop.

He lifted the gun up and I closed my eyes, then I heard a bunch of shots. Grandad just said, 'he's got me'.

[Rezgui moved closer and shot Mr Evans again at close range as Owen was still clinging to him].

– Owen Richards' statement to police

Owen said that he realised his brother was lying nearby and he "hit his foot a few times, telling him to get up."

"You could see in his eyes that he was not alive - there was no life in his eyes."

After seeing his uncle was also lying motionless, Owen ran to the neighbouring Soviva hotel before being taken in an ambulance for medical treatment for a wound on his left shoulder, believed to have been caused by a bullet.

The coroner, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith, said: "It seems to me Owen behaved with extraordinary courage while trying to protect his grandfather."

Patrick Evans, Joel Richards and Adrian Evans on their way to Tunisia Credit: West Midlands Police

Owen's mother Suzanne Richards, who lost her eldest son, brother and father, said the attack had "destroyed" her family.

She told the court the last message she received from the trio was from her brother, who texted her on the morning of the attack to say they were "relaxing by the pool".

She fought back tears as she said: "They arrived in Tunisia late on Thursday evening - within 12 hours my dad, my eldest son and my brother were killed."

Thirty-eight people were killed in the terror attack Credit: PA

"Thankfully Owen survived. There are three empty chairs every Sunday for lunch. Three empty chairs at Walsall (football club).

"We feel like we have been cut in half and will never get over what we have lost."

Of her son, she said: "The world has lost a truly shining star."

Joel, who was studying sports science at the University of Worcester, was a "popular" teenager who had become a level four football referee at the age of 18.

I was so proud of my boys - we were like the Three Musketeers.

Joel was robbed of his future and we were robbed of Joel.

Part of me also died that day when my beautiful child was taken from me so cruelly and so unfairly."

– Suzanne Richards

"How can four people go on holiday and only one come back?" she asked. "That fatal horrific morning destroyed my family - we are broken."