Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

Tunisia bodies released to families

Published 06/07/2015

Christopher and Sharon Bell, who died in the Tunisia beach massacre (West Yorkshire Police)
Christopher and Sharon Bell, who died in the Tunisia beach massacre (West Yorkshire Police)

The bodies of seven of the Tunisia beach massacre victims have been released to their families, after an inquest heard of the fatal wounds they suffered.

Christopher Bell, 59, and his wife 54-year-old Sharon, from Leeds, each suffered a single gunshot wound. Mr Bell was struck in the face, neck and chest, while Mrs Bell was hit in the chest and abdomen.

All of the victims were identified using dental records and visual identification, apart from Chris Dyer, 32, who suffered gunshot wounds to the head. The engineer from Watford who practised jiu-jitsu, was on holiday with his wife Gina Van Dort when he was killed.

An inquest was also opened into the death of retired scientist David Thompson, 80, from Tadley, Hampshire. It is understood he used to work for the Atomic Weapons Establishment and was a keen walker.

West London Coroner's Court heard that he died of gunshot wounds to the chest.

Sue Davey, 43, from Staffordshire, and her partner Scott Chalkley, 42, from Derby also lost their lives in the attack. She suffered gunshot wounds to the "chest/neck", while Mr Chalkley was struck once in the "abdomen/pelvis", Detective Sergeant David Batt, from Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism unit, told the brief hearing.

Philip Heathcote, 53, from Felixstowe, Suffolk, suffered multiple fatal shots to the chest and abdomen.

Gunman Seifeddine Rezgui "indiscriminately" opened fire in the resort of Sousse at around 11.15am on Friday June 26, going on a 30 minute rampage before he was shot and killed by security services.

The bodies of the victims were moved to the central mortuary in Tunis after the atrocity.

"Senior UK police identification managers have assisted in Tunisia and in the UK to oversee the identification process," Mr Batt said.

Senior coroner Chinyere Inyama formally released the bodies to their families for burial. It brings the total number of inquests that have opened since the bodies were repatriated to the UK to 22.

Inquests into the deaths of the remaining eight victims are due to open in the next few days.

Their bodies lie just yards from the coroner's court at Fulham Public Mortuary.

Police are standing guard outside the mortuary where dozens of flowers have been laid by members of the public in tribute.

The inquests have been adjourned for a date to be set. Mr Batt said 275 witness accounts had been taken by police so far, and more than 1,200 potential witnesses have returned to the UK. "Accounts are being taken from those who are deemed significant," he added.

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph