Tunisia terror attack: Inquest into death of 30 Britons to finish

Beach at Sousse in TunisiaImage copyright

The inquest into the deaths of 30 Britons in a terror attack at a Tunisian resort is to conclude later.

A total of 38 people were killed when an Islamist gunman opened fire at a hotel in Sousse on 26 June 2015.

The inquest examined whether the UK government and travel firms failed to protect British tourists.

But the coroner will explain later why he has rejected a request to rule neglect was a contributory factor in their deaths.

The attack at the five-star Riu Imperial Marhaba hotel was the deadliest on Britons since the 7 July 2005 London bombings.

The gunman, Seifeddine Rezgui, was later shot dead by police.

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Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith is expected to say that all 30 Britons were unlawfully killed and to explain his reasons for not accepting the neglect submission.

The inquest has previously heard that “part of the attack or most of it could have been prevented” had security been tighter.

Tour operator TUI has been accused of failing to vet security at the hotel, but the firm has argued “matters could have been worse” during the attack.

Image caption

Thirty of the 38 people killed by a gunman on a Tunisian beach were British

The inquest, which began in January at London’s Royal Courts of Justice, has also heard evidence that:

  • Tunisian security forces “wasted time” before responding to the attack
  • Four unarmed guards manned the hotel where the attack took place, despite the resort being a known terror risk
  • UK officials had been told of security concerns in Sousse six months before the attack, but decided against discouraging all travel to Tunisia
  • TUI’s website did not have any reference to a terror attack in Tunisia months earlier in March 2015 at the Bardo National Museum, where 22 people, including 20 tourists, were killed
  • Some survivors “played dead” during the attack

Andrew Ritchie, who is representing 20 victims’ families, told the inquest they believed TUI’s “utter complacency” amounted to neglect.

He said the guards at the Riu Imperial Marhaba had not been an effective deterrent and the lack of CCTV had made it a target.

But Howard Stevens, counsel for TUI, said even if there had been additional CCTV cameras or guards it “cannot be said that any of these measures would probably have made a difference”.

The travel company maintained it was “wholly erroneous” to claim it had been neglectful and there was insufficient evidence of any gross failure.

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