Tunisia terror attack inquest: Coroner rules holidaymakers were 'unlawfully killed'

Thirty British tourists murdered in the Tunisia terror attack - including three members of the same Black Country family - were unlawfully killed, a coroner has ruled.

Tunisia terror attack inquest: Coroner rules holidaymakers were 'unlawfully killed'

At the conclusion of the six-week inquest, coroner Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith rejected suggestions 'neglect' by travel companies played any part in the deaths.

However, he reserved criticism for the Tunisian police's response to the mass shooting at a beach resort in Sousse carried out by IS-inspired gunman Seifeddine Rezgui.

  • UPDATE: Relatives 'plan to sue tour operator' after coroner's ruling

Among the 30 people slaughtered by Rezgui were 19-year-old Joel Richards, his uncle Adrian Evans, from Bilston, and his grandfather Patrick Evans.

Joel's younger brother Owen, then 16, survived the attack.

Joel Richards' mother Suzanne and brother Owen were among those attending the conclusion of the inquest today

Suzanne Davey, aged 42, originally from West Bromwich, was also killed.

  • Read more updates from the inquest as it concluded today

At the final hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice today, Judge Loraine-Smith labelled the police response 'shambolic' and 'cowardly'.

The inquests heard previously there was an unacceptable delay from Tunisian authorities in reacting to news of the terror attack.

"It was certainly ineffective until the death of the gunman at the hands of the National Guard."

Police officers heading towards the hotel re-routed away on the pretext of getting more weapons to deal with Rezgui but they already 'had everything required to confront the gunman and could have been at the scene within minutes,' the coroner said.

With the exception of two marine guards, no police officers reached the hotel until all 30 Britons had been killed, he added.

Terrorist victim Sue Davey, second left, with her children, left to right, Chloe, Rosy and Conor

Judge Loraine-Smith explained at length his reasons for rejecting a 'neglect' verdict - which had been suggested by the families' barrister - saying it was not possible for him given legal precedents.

He said: "The simple but tragic truth in this case is that a gunman armed with a firearm, ammunition and grenades went to that beach and entered that hotel intent on killing as many tourists as he could."

The coroner also reserved praise for the conduct of the families affected.

"Throughout these hearings you've shown a quiet dignity of which your loved ones would have been proud."

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