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Tunisia attack inquest: Relatives listen to coroner in tears

Relatives arrive ahead of the hearing. Credit: PA

The relatives of the victims of the Sousse terror attack in Tunisia fought back tears as Judge Loraine-Smith ruled on each of the dead in alphabetical order.

Speaking at the inquest at the Royal Courts of Justice, Judge Loraine-Smith said: "At approximately 11.45am on the morning of June 26, 2015, a terrorist who was armed with a high-velocity firearm and improvised explosive devices began shooting at the tourists who were on the beach at the rear of the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Sousse in the Republic of Tunisia.

"The terrorist moved from the beach into the grounds and inside of the hotel."

ITV News' Becky Kelly attended the inquest.

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Tunisia attack inquest: 30 Britons 'unlawfully killed'

The 30 British victims of the Sousse terror attack. Credit: ITV News

All 30 British victims of the 2015 Tunisia terror attacker were "unlawfully killed", the coroner has said.

Coroner Nicholas Loraine-Smith rejected calls from lawyers for some of the victim's relatives to rule "neglect" by travel firm TUI or the hotel owners played a role in their killing.

He said the law on neglect did not, in his view, apply to tourists who voluntarily went abroad and that better planning and actions by hotel staff may not have prevented the atrocity in which 38 people were killed by radicalised Islamic extremist Seifeddine Rezgui.

In his summary, the coroner referred to the response of police and military, including an officer who "fainted through terror and panic" and a guard who took off his shirt to hide the fact he was an officer.

"They had everything they required to confront the gunman and could have been at the scene within minutes," he said.

"The delay was deliberate and unjustifiable."


Tunisia attack inquest: 'Simple truth' is gunman to blame

Flowers and tributes left at the scene of the attack. Credit: PA

The owners and staff at the Tunisian hotel where 30 British tourists were killed in a terror attack in June 2015 could have done nothing before the attack that would have done more than "possibly make a difference", a coroner has said.

Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said he could not include "neglect" by holiday firm TUI or the owners of the five-star Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel when ruling on the deaths.

The judge, sitting as coroner at the victims' inquest, said the law regarding neglect did not cover tourists on holiday.

The lawyers for more than 20 of Rezgui's victims had wanted this included after the lengthy inquest heard evidence from survivors that they were not warned of the danger of holidaying in Tunisia before they left.

  • ITV News' Becky Kelly reports from the inquest.

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The inquest heard that the only factor which may have made any difference to the outcome of the attack by Seifeddine Rezgui, was if the hotel's guards had been armed.

But Judge Loraine-Smith said: "Having reviewed the legal advice on gun law in Tunisia it's clear this was not a realistic option.

"The simple but tragic truth in this case is that a gunman armed with a gun and grenades went to that hotel intending to kill as many tourists as he could."

Coroner: Tunisian police response 'shambolic' and 'cowardly'

The coroner at the inquest into the deaths of the 30 Britons killed in the Sousse beach terror attack in Tunisia has branded the response of the country's police as "at best shambolic and at worst cowardly".

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They also praised the victims' families saying "throughout these inquests you have shown a quiet dignity which your loved would have been proud of".

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The coroner added that the CCTV footage of security authorities responding to the attack was never passed to him and the hotel owner never provided a statement, meaning some questions remained "unanswered".

He also warned he would not be able to make a verdict of unlawful killing with a contributing factor of neglect.

ITV News' Geraint Vincent and Becky Kelly are at the Royal Courts of Justice to hear the verdict of the inquest.


Tunisia attack inquest: Families arrive at court

Relatives of those killed arrive at the Royal Courts of Justice. Credit: SWNS

The relatives of the 30 Britons killed in the Tunisia beach terror attack in June 2015 have arrived at the Royal Courts of Justice in London to hear the inquest deliver its findings.

Families of those killed have called for a "neglect" verdict arguing travel firms failed to protect their loved ones.

Andrew Ritchie QC, counsel to the families of the victims, said Tunisian authorities had taken the terror risk to tourists seriously, but that hotel operators had not.

The inquest, which began on January 16, seeks to determine how much the UK government and travel firms knew about the risk of an attack on tourists holidaying in the area.

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