Sally Adey, 57, a solicitor from Caynton, Shropshire, was among 23 people now thought to have been killed during the assault on the Bardo Museum in the capital, Tunis. Her husband Robert, 52, is thought to be unharmed.
The couple had arrived on the MSC Splendida cruise ship, which arrived at La Goulette, Tunis, on Wednesday morning before passengers visited the museum, where 18 tourists were shot dead. Around 90 Britons were on board the ship, which began its seven-night trip from Genoa, Italy, last Saturday.
Mrs Adey, who has two children, described herself as a University of Hull educated “mum with kids at uni” and a specialist in company and commercial law although not currently working, in an online profile. Among her "loves" were family, cooking, flowers, history and watching sport with her husband – especially golf, rugby, cricket and motor racing.
She completed her self-description in the profile by saying she was “trying to get a bit fitter before it’s too late”.
She added: “People say I’m sensible and well organised - that all sounds very boring - sorry - in my fitness work I like boxing though - perhaps a bit more interesting?”
The couple’s children Molly, 18, and Harry, 23, were being comforted by friends and family as they began to pay tribute. Neighbour Annette Crawshaw, 73, who lives three doors down from the solicitor, expressed her “horror” at Mrs Adey’s death.
She said: “It is so tragic. Sally was on a cruise with her husband Rob when all this happened. I can’t imagine the pain he and his family are going through.
“They are a lovely family. I last spoke to Sally at Christmas time. She seemed delighted to be spending time with her family. I’ve lived pretty much next door to her and her family for ten years. There are only a few houses here so we all look out for one another.
“I was absolutely shocked when I heard the news of her death. You never imagine someone you live near would ever be mixed up in such horror.”
Two Tunisians and tourists from Japan, Italy, Colombia, Australia, France, Poland and Spain were also among those killed in the worst civilian attack in Tunisia since the Arab Spring of 2009. Security forces killed two gunmen but are still searching for accomplices.
Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the “appalling and brutal” attacks and said the government was doing all it could to help Mrs Adey’s family.
He said: “This is the latest example of extremist terror and we have to fight it with everything we have: whether that is taking the poison out of young minds here in Britain, whether it is working with intelligence, policing and security services in other countries around the world, dealing decisively in the areas of the world from which these problems come.
“Of course the extremists, the terrorists hate democracy. They hate the idea that people should be able to choose their own government, but we mustn’t let democracy, freedom, the rule of law - things we hold dear, the people of Tunisia hold dear - we must not let them be defeated or undermined by extremists and terrorists.”
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who is in Nairobi, said British consular staff were helping Mrs Adey’s family. “My thoughts are with them at this very difficult time,” he added. “The Tunisian people are rightly proud of their democratic transition. Cowardly attacks, such as the one we saw yesterday, must not be allowed to undermine what they have achieved.”
Officials in Tunisia say that more than 40 people, including tourists and Tunisians, were injured.
MSC Cruises said in a statement: “Sally’s husband is receiving support from the MSC Cruises customer care team in Tunis and we will be offering all possible support to him and his family. At this tragic time, the entire MSC Cruises family wishes to extend its most sincere and heartfelt condolences to all those who were affected by this tragic event and are suffering as a result, in particular to the families and friends of those who lost their lives as well as the injured ones.”
The company said “regular stringent safety procedures” were set in motion when they received news of the terror attack and that ship management “called for the immediate cancellation of all on-going shore excursions and recall all buses and their passengers on the ground back to the ship”.
Independent News Service