UK judge concludes seven-week Tunisia beach resort massacre inquest

UK judge concludes seven-week Tunisia beach resort massacre inquest
A seven-week inquest into a militant attack on British holiday makers in Tunisia's Sousse has come to a close, which has left families of the victims disappointed with the findings.
2 min read
28 February, 2017
Families of the victims have told the court about the killings in Sousse [Getty]

Tunisian police dealing with a gun rampage in a beach resort in Sousse were "at best shambolic, at worst cowardly", according to a seven-week enquiry by lawyers and coroners at the UK's Royal Courts of Justice.

Judge Nicholas Lorraine-Smith delivered his findings of the inquest into the deaths of 30 British tourists in the 2015 massacre by an Islamic State group-linked gunman on Tuesday to families of the victims and survivors.

A coroner ruled that the 30 dead were "unlawfully killed", but families were left frustrated when the judge rejected accusations that the government or travel companies were partly at fault.

It took 20 minutes for the judge to read out the names of the dead and how they were killed.

It comes after a seven-week inquest into the attack in Sousse led to serious accusations of "cowardice" and incompetence by Tunisian security forces.

Tunisian tourism security could have prevented the killings earlier, but failed to reach the scene while the massacre was taking place, the court heard.

Victims' lawyers have also said that travel companies failed to notify holidaymakers of the risks from terrorism in Tunisia at the time.

Survivors and relatives also told how tour companies assured them Tunisia was "100 percent safe" before going.

This was despite another deadly attack on holiday makers by a gunman at a museum in the capital shortly before and warnings from the UK foreign office.

Tui, part of Thomson Cook Group, is also accused of selling insurance that would not reimburse holiday makers if they cancelled their trips due to terrorism, according to The Guardian.

The 30 British victims were among 38 people killed when a lone Tunisian gunman went on a rampage at a resort in Sousse which lasted half an hour.

The attack, later claimed by the Islamic State group, was the deadliest terror incident involving British citizens since the 2005 bombings in London.

The inquest highlighted a catalogue of errors by Tunisian security forces who failed to assist the holiday makers with survivors pretending to be dead to escape the gunman.

Tunisian tourism police are said to have stalled their deployment to the scene, which allowed the gunman to continue his rampage. He was shot dead while fleeing the scene.

A Tunisian judge earlier said the tourism police failed to reach the scene on time due to "simple cowardice".

One British man said he was alone on the beach after the massacre for 20 minutes assisting the injured and dying before security forces and ambulances arrived.