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Silence held to honour Tunisia dead

Published 03/07/2015

Suzie Evans is hugged by her son Owen Richards during a minute's silence in Walsall in memory of the victims of the Tunisia terror attack, including their relatives Patrick Evans, Adrian Evans and Joel Richards
Suzie Evans is hugged by her son Owen Richards during a minute's silence in Walsall in memory of the victims of the Tunisia terror attack, including their relatives Patrick Evans, Adrian Evans and Joel Richards
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Strathclyde University as Britain remembered the victims of the Tunisia terror attack with a minute's silence
The coffin of Lisa Graham is taken from the RAF C-17 carrying the bodies of Britons killed in the Tunisia terror attack

Britain has paid a solemn tribute to those killed in the Tunisian beach massacre with a minute's silence.

The tribute came as it emerged the youngest victim of the terror attack died after being shot in the head alongside his grandfather.

Joel Richards, 19, and Patrick Evans, 78, both died from a "gunshot wound to the head" while his uncle Adrian Evans, 49, also died from gunshot wounds, an inquest at West London Coroner's Court heard.

Joel's brother Owen, 16, survived the attack. He and his mother Suzanne observed the minute's silence at the family's beloved football club Walsall, where they were joined by the squad, manager Dean Smith and hundreds of supporters.

Wearing the club's red shirt with his arm around his mother, Owen bowed his head as he observed the sombre moment at the club's Banks's Stadium, where a carpet of flowers, Walsall flags and shirts have been left in tribute to the family.

Joel was a talented young referee, and a member of the Birmingham County Football Association referee's department blew a whistle to mark the start and end of the silence, before the club's chaplain Peter Hart said a short prayer.

Darren Cooper, leader of Sandwell Council, where Adrian Evans worked as a gas services manager, led crowds at the authority's offices in the minute of remembrance.

He said: "We are united, we stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of adversity, and we will never ever allow terrorists to divide us or our communities."

Elsewhere the Queen and the Prime Minister joined millions of Britons in the minute's silence observed at noon to remember those killed on the beach at Sousse.

It came as the bodies of 25 of the 30 British victims killed in the beach massacre have been returned to the UK, with the final five returning tomorrow, the Foreign Office said.

Those brought back to British soil today were Christopher and Sharon Bell, Scott Chalkley, Sue Davey, Angela and Raymond Fisher, Eileen Swannack, and John Welch.

Some 30 British people were among the 38 murdered by gunman Seifeddine Rezgui last Friday.

Millions observed the minute's silence. Wimbledon fell still as spectators congregated on Murray Mound to bow their heads, before clapping when the minute was over.

Matches started at 12.15pm rather than the usual 11.30am to allow players, staff and fans to take part.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh observed the silence as they visited the University of Strathclyde's Technology and Innovation Centre, while David Cameron marked the moment in his Oxfordshire constituency.

As pedestrians and tourists alike bowed their head in London's Parliament Square during the silence, flags above Whitehall fluttered at half mast, a poignant symbol mirrored at public buildings throughout the country.

Outside Buckingham Palace hundreds of people gathered at the gates and lined the pavements, before a brass band marched out of the main gates.

At the Essex County Ground in Chelmsford the touring Australia Ashes cricket team joined Essex players and officials to bow their heads during a break in play.

Tunisian prime minister Habib Essid joined the UK's ambassador to the country Hamish Cowell at a memorial event on the beach in Sousse.

Armed police patrolled the beach while dozens of tourists gathered around a sea of flowers at the scene of the attacks.

Elsewhere, Tamworth fell silent to remember Ms Davey, who was killed along with her partner Mr Chalkley.

Flags on Tamworth Castle and the town's Marmion House were flown at half mast, and a book of condolence was opened by the council for people to remember her.

In Crawley, West Sussex, where victims retired printer John Stocker, 74, and his wife Janet, 63, had roots and some of their relatives still live, the silence was observed impeccably.

Mayor of Crawley Chris Cheshire said after the silence: "We wanted to find a way, not just marking the one minute's silence, but by somehow transmitting the fact that our love and care for them will somehow sustain them."

The final two Britons to be identified have been confirmed as Angie and Ray Fisher, from Leicester, believed to be aged 75 and 69.

Mosques across the UK also fell silent to mark the occasion as Muslims paid their own tributes during the holy month of Ramadan.

The Muslim Council of Britain has urged British Muslims to make their voices heard to pray for peace, and speak out against terrorism.

It is believed Rezgui - who was shot dead by police - had accomplices who helped him to carry out the atrocity.

The Tunisian government said seven men and one woman are in custody, suspected of having direct links to the massacre, and four others have been released.

According to Tunisian officials, the gunman trained at a Libyan jihadist camp at the same time as the two gunmen who attacked the Bardo museum in Tunis in March, killing 22 people.

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