Tributes paid to Berkshire couple killed by suspected 'terrorists' in Uganda

Watch: A couple killed in a terror attack in Uganda were 'central' to life in a Berkshire village, as ITV News Meridian's Kerry Swain reports

Tributes have been paid to a well-known Berkshire businessman and his newlywed wife who were killed in a "terrorist" attack on their vehicle in an African national park.

David Barlow, his South-African-born wife Celia and their Ugandan guide were driving through the Queen Elizabeth National Park on Tuesday when they were attacked and killed by a rebel group linked to the so-called Islamic State terror group.

The couple, who lived in Hampstead Norreys, near Newbury in Berkshire, a village home to around 800 people, were married in South Africa on Saturday and had been in Uganda on their honeymoon, locals have said.

Candles lit at St Mary's Church in Hampstead Norreys in tribute to David Barlow, his South African-born wife Celia, and their Ugandan guide. Credit: PA

Stephen Davis was at the couple's wedding in South Africa and had been asked by David to give a speech after the ceremony.

Speaking from his home in Hampstead Norreys he said: "They were central to the life in this village.

"They were just such a charming, unassuming couple despite leading good, professional lives - no enemies at all.

"They were just such lovely people to be around."

  • Stephen Davis, friend of David and Celia

Richard Davies, warden at St Mary's Church in the village, where candles were lit following the attack, told the PA news agency, "They'll be dreadfully missed.

"Dave was brought up nearby and lived around here most of his life.

"He was one of those people who is a huge part of the community, he's very well-liked, involved in sports clubs, involved in all aspects of village life."

Mr Barlow ran a wood yard in nearby Hermitage and was chairman of Hampstead Norreys parish council as well as chairman of the local cricket club.

The newlyweds and their Ugandan guide were killed and their safari vehicle burnt Credit: Uganda Police Force

Dozens of people in the community travelled to the wedding ceremony. Parish council member Toby Harris said, "David was a very genuine person, he would say what he was thinking, he was very funny, with a great sense of humour and a genuinely nice bloke.

"I spent a lot of time bumping into him at the pub for a beer or two. He was approachable and down-to-earth.

"I only met Celia once for around half an hour, she was friendly and welcoming, a really nice person.

"They were well-thought-of by people here, members of the community travelled to be at their wedding, which shows how popular he was."

In response to the attack, Andrew Mitchell, the UK minister of state for development and Africa, said on social media: "I am shocked and saddened by the horrific attack in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. My thoughts are with the victims and their families.

"British nationals in Uganda should follow travel advice."

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Hampstead Norreys Cricket Club also paid tribute to the couple, affectionately referring to Mr Barlow as "Lord Barlow".

Hampstead Norreys Cricket Club has paid tribute to the newlywed couple Credit: Hampstead Norreys Cricket Club

It said, "He was at the time this incident occurred with the most importan person in his life, a woman who we all knew so well, as Dave was so proud to share all of Celia's achievements.

"She too was an amazing human being, who will be desperately missed."

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni said on social media, "It was a cowardly act on the part of the terrorists attacking innocent civilians and tragic for the couple who were newlyweds and visiting Uganda on their honeymoon. Of course, these terrorists will pay with their own wretched lives."

Ugandan police and the president have said the killers were members of the Allied Democratic Forces, a group with ties to IS.

Queen Elizabeth National Park, in the south west of Uganda, is one of its most popular conservation areas and attacks in such parks are said to be uncommon.

Ugandan troops are pursuing members of the group in the nearby Congo.

In his social media post, the president added: "Killing these wretched individuals will not bring back the lives of these wonderful friends of Uganda who had chosen our country for their honeymoon out of the 193 countries of the world.

"Our High Commission in the UK will reach out to their families and provide whatever support is necessary in this tragic situation."

He added that Ugandan authorities will ensure these "mistakes" will not happen again and explained how remnants of the rebel group were able to carry out the attack at the wildlife park.

"There were a few gaps in the handling of these remnants. UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) was guarding tourists once they were in the park. However, apparently, the tourists were arriving and departing individually. It is this gap that they used," he wrote on social media.

He said the rebels would be defeated like the Ugandan militant Joseph Kony, who terrorised the country under the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), recognised as a terrorist group by the European Union.

Following the attack, the UK Foreign Office updated its travel advice for Uganda, warning against "all but essential travel" to Queen Elizabeth National Park.

A statement on its website said, "If you are currently in the park, you should follow the advice of local security authorities. If you are able to do so safely, you should consider leaving the area."

Andrew Mitchell, the UK minister of state for development and Africa, said on social media, "I am shocked and saddened by the horrific attack in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. My thoughts are with the victims and their families.

"British nationals in Uganda should follow travel advice."