Coroner slams 'cowardly' police over Tunisia attack response

Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith released his findings after the inquest into the deaths of the holidaymakers concluded on Tuesday.

Loraine-Smith found that the deaths were the result of "unlawful killing" by gunman Seifeddine Rezgui, who was shot dead by police.

However, he said the response by local police was "at best shambolic, at worst cowardly" - adding that they were "most certainly" responsible for ensuring tourist security.

The inquest had previously been told police deliberately delayed responding to the massacre, in which a total of 30 Britons were killed.

Victims: The Grahams, left, and the McQuires.

Judge Loraine-Smith said he couldn't include "neglect" by holiday firm TUI or the hotel's owners in his ruling, because the law regarding neglect did not cover tourists on holiday.

"The response by the police was at best shambolic, at worst cowardly".

He said the coroner could not "simply dismiss the security presence", and that if there were additional CCTV cameras or static guards at the beach gate it "cannot be said that any of these measures would probably have made a difference".

Thirty-eight people were killed when an Islamist gunman opened fire at a hotel in Sousse in 2015.

He did, however, say that there were customers who would not have gone to Tunisia if they had seen the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's travel advice.

Paul Thompson said that he and his wife were "pushed" towards choosing Tunisia, that they were told the atrocity was a "one-off", adding that another travel agent likened it to avoiding Skegness if there was an attack in London.

  • Leroy Wright