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workingpoor

Tunisia Inquest

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A holidaymaker "played dead" next to her husband's body while a gunman killed 38 people at a Tunisian beach resort in 2015, an inquest has heard.

Allison Heathcote, 50, survived five gunshot wounds but her husband Philip, 53, died in the attack near Sousse.

The pair, from Suffolk, were on their 30th wedding anniversary holiday when Islamist Seifeddine Rezgui opened fire.

Mrs Heathcote said she had only realised her husband "had not made it" when he did not answer her.

The Heathcoates, who have a son, were on the beach at the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel when Rezgui launched his attack on 26 June.

The couple "dived into the sand between the sun beds", but were found by the gunman, Mrs Heathcote said in a statement read at the inquest into the deaths of 30 Britons at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

She described feeling "pure fear" as Rezgui wounded her, killed her husband, then walked away to murder others.

After being wounded, she said: "I stayed laying on the sand, trying not to move and draw attention to the fact that I was still alive."

Once the sound of gunshots faded, Mrs Heathcote said, she asked her husband if he was OK.

"At the first opportunity I was asking Philip if he was alright.

"There was no response from Philip and I realised he had not made it."

Mrs Heathcote was shot in the arm and abdomen and spent a month in an induced coma, the inquest heard.

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Many more eyewitness accounts being put forward at the inquest today. 

Alot of the survivors have stated that when they booked their holiday to Sousse in Tunisia the travel agents did not mention anything about safety & security or terrorism, despite the attack onnthe cruise ship passengers at the Bardo Museum 2 months prior. (passengers disembarkng a cruise ship via minibuses at the port were followed to the museum by gunmen)

Also the Foreign Office had not updated travel advice highlighting the risk to foreign tourists.

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According to a documentary I saw on this, the police were variously hiding, delaying their arrival and changing into their brown trousers while the killing went on. Had they not been such craven cowards, they could have prevented some, if not all of the deaths. 

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Survivor accounts at the inquest today stated that when paramedics turned up they had no medical equipment at all and could do nothing for the wounded.

One man was running with his wife when she was gunned down, he went to ground with her and kneeling over her the gunman approched and didn't shoot him, he told the inquest that he booked the holiday at a Thomson travel agents in Hull and that there was no mention of the security situation in Port El Kantoui, Tunisia.

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9 minutes ago, workingpoor said:

Survivor accounts at the inquest today stated that when paramedics turned up they had no medical equipment at all and could do nothing for the wounded.

One man was running with his wife when she was gunned down, he went to ground with her and kneeling over her the gunman approched and didn't shoot him, he told the inquest that he booked the holiday at a Thomson travel agents in Hull and that there was no mention of the security situation in Port El Kantoui, Tunisia.

I find it hard to believe how ignorant people are about the countries they holiday in. After all, Tunisia has been the HQ of the PLO for decades. The Bardo Museum attack in Tunis should have been a heads up to potential tourists.

Of course, the FO should have had some some sort of warning to potential tourists, who were buying up cheap holidays the Germans didn't want because their government was warning against travel there. 

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I suppose if people see Tunisia in holiday brochure then they automaticaly think it is "safe" 

A  popular destination with the Welsh and those flying from northern airports by all accounts. 

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1 hour ago, Bossybabe said:

I find it hard to believe how ignorant people are about the countries they holiday in. After all, Tunisia has been the HQ of the PLO for decades. The Bardo Museum attack in Tunis should have been a heads up to potential tourists.

Of course, the FO should have had some some sort of warning to potential tourists, who were buying up cheap holidays the Germans didn't want because their government was warning against travel there. 

I'll hold my hands up to this sort of ignorance. We went in 2014 and had a great time. In return I was tempted to book again for the following year but put it off. As more and more attacks were happening around the world I started to think it wasn't a good idea. Then the cruise ship/museum attack took place and my concerns were increased. 

One morning in 2015 I was having a discussion with a friend about going on holiday. She asked if we would go back to Tunisia. I relayed this sort of dark thought I'd had about the fact our hotel was an hours drive from the airport and whilst it was lovely when you get there it's like a bl00dy war zone enroute. She laughed at me when I said that I feared if we went back the coach transfer would be pulled over on the side of the road and we'd be taken out and shot by some terrorist. 

That evening I went home and she text me to see if I'd seen the news that day about the beach attacks. I don't think she thought me so daft at that point. 

 

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9 hours ago, Battenberg said:

I'll hold my hands up to this sort of ignorance. We went in 2014 and had a great time. In return I was tempted to book again for the following year but put it off. As more and more attacks were happening around the world I started to think it wasn't a good idea. Then the cruise ship/museum attack took place and my concerns were increased. 

One morning in 2015 I was having a discussion with a friend about going on holiday. She asked if we would go back to Tunisia. I relayed this sort of dark thought I'd had about the fact our hotel was an hours drive from the airport and whilst it was lovely when you get there it's like a bl00dy war zone enroute. She laughed at me when I said that I feared if we went back the coach transfer would be pulled over on the side of the road and we'd be taken out and shot by some terrorist. 

That evening I went home and she text me to see if I'd seen the news that day about the beach attacks. I don't think she thought me so daft at that point. 

 

My 89-year-old aunt and her mate of similar age used to go to that hotel once or twice a year. They've stopped now. 

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11 hours ago, Bossybabe said:

I find it hard to believe how ignorant people are about the countries they holiday in. After all, Tunisia has been the HQ of the PLO for decades. The Bardo Museum attack in Tunis should have been a heads up to potential tourists.

Of course, the FO should have had some some sort of warning to potential tourists, who were buying up cheap holidays the Germans didn't want because their government was warning against travel there. 

No.

The FO should have firced all travel companies to either withdraw packages, or for travel agengies to print a big warning sign.

Sure let individuals decided. Ive gone blue i the face pointing out to people that Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt are cheap for a reason. Yeah but its sunny + cheap.

 

I dont think the risk is small. The number of western people being killed are pretty big, all in.

 

 

 

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30 minutes ago, Bossybabe said:

My 89-year-old aunt and her mate of similar age used to go to that hotel once or twice a year. They've stopped now. 

Yeah. But risk is relative.

For them they are more likely to wiped out by Norovirus.

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12 hours ago, workingpoor said:

Survivor accounts at the inquest today stated that when paramedics turned up they had no medical equipment at all and could do nothing for the wounded.

One man was running with his wife when she was gunned down, he went to ground with her and kneeling over her the gunman approched and didn't shoot him, he told the inquest that he booked the holiday at a Thomson travel agents in Hull and that there was no mention of the security situation in Port El Kantoui, Tunisia.

2

I didn't realise it was Port El Kantoui, as the press kept saying Sousse (yes, of course, I know it is just along the road), I stayed there on honeymoon (the ex - stupid mare booked it instead of Spain because she thought it was more exotic) in 2002 at the Golf Residence, we booked through MyTravel and flew from Manchester in a really uncomfortable cramped B757. Can't remember the tour company name but they basically seemed to be the only operator in town. We had the bridal suite which was large but was situated at the end of the hotel (towards the roundabout that you crossed to go to the harbour) what I hated was our room was actually situated a couple floors above a bar and nightclub, air conditioning for the room kept forcing stale smoke from the bar into the room. Strangely enough, we found out the woman who was staying next door was the President's (of Tunisia) sister, she said like staying there as she didn't like a fuss being made. Food hygiene was poor with feral cats in the dining room and kitchens, lots of people came down with food poisoning, one had to be seen by a doctor!

As I said our part of the hotel was situated at the end of the building and exposed to the open road, so in theory, a suicide car bomber could take out a good proportion of the building. On the coach back from a desert safari tour down to the Sahara, we dropped off people at other hotels in the area, I noticed a couple of them were a lot more secure, with armed security on the gates.

I wouldn't go back, I noticed that young Tunisian man who could speak English were either trying to get off with European women, those that couldn't seem to hang around looking for single women, they said then that it was a safe place but I had a feeling any single woman without her wits about her could find herself in trouble rather quickly.

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12 hours ago, Bossybabe said:

I find it hard to believe how ignorant people are about the countries they holiday in. After all, Tunisia has been the HQ of the PLO for decades. The Bardo Museum attack in Tunis should have been a heads up to potential tourists.

Of course, the FO should have had some some sort of warning to potential tourists, who were buying up cheap holidays the Germans didn't want because their government was warning against travel there. 

 

Tunisia, used to be really popular with Germans, probably sightseeing where granddad was in 1943!

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50 minutes ago, spyguy said:

Yeah. But risk is relative.

For them they are more likely to wiped out by Norovirus.

As I almost was over Christmas. Thank you, QA Hospital, Portsmouth. 

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12 hours ago, Bossybabe said:

According to a documentary I saw on this, the police were variously hiding, delaying their arrival and changing into their brown trousers while the killing went on. Had they not been such craven cowards, they could have prevented some, if not all of the deaths. 

This is what I find most chilling and not just the police but some of the shopkeepers not giving refuge to fleeing Brits. An almost biblical tale of cowardice with one unarmed Tunisian hotel body guard valiantly pursuing the killer, he has now lost his job. In fact the country has suffered a loss of billions in GDP and is facing cataclysmic economic meltdown.

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18 minutes ago, crashmonitor said:

This is what I find most chilling and not just the police but some of the shopkeepers not giving refuge to fleeing Brits. An almost biblical tale of cowardice with one unarmed Tunisian hotel body guard valiantly pursuing the killer, he has now lost his job. In fact the country has suffered a loss of billions in GDP and is facing cataclysmic economic meltdown.

By all accounts a lot of private Tunisian citizens showed great courage.

The gunman was faced down by hotel employees and by Tunisians around the compex.

The police/security were useless. at best, cowardly/complicit at worse.

 

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Indeed - theres a video iirc of a local chucking stuff down at the gunman and shouting at the shooter.

Think it's a bit unfair to say locals didn't do much. A bloke was running about with a rifle ffs !!

Local security you would expect more of - but then again they will be paid a pittance. It's not black and white IMO. 

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I suppose the UK Foreign Office issuing a "All but essential travel" warning for a country that is highly reliant on tourism is like condeming it to economic wipeout? 

The Gambia may come back online as a tourist destination if the FO lift the travel ban now the Ex-President had departed, it will be interesting to see if it is lifted and how soon. 

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Friend of mine was in the Country the week before the shootings and stopped at a hotel a few hundred yards away from the incident.

I said to him before he went he was mad and you wouldn't catch me going. Soon changed his tune when he saw the news and I saw him that same night in the pub. I became at a stroke one of his most confident advisor.

Early on in the inquest evidence it was stated the FO advice was the Country was subject to Terrorism danger and that travellers should consider this in their plans. So it is untrue the warnings were not out there and everyone has access to the news.

It is clear that a situation is being engineered to make TUI responsible in that they never passed on FO information. Hopefully the coroner doesn't fall for it.

People need to be responsible for their own safety and there was plenty of information about for them to make an informed decision in this regard.

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8 hours ago, ccc said:

Indeed - theres a video iirc of a local chucking stuff down at the gunman and shouting at the shooter.

Think it's a bit unfair to say locals didn't do much. A bloke was running about with a rifle ffs !!

Local security you would expect more of - but then again they will be paid a pittance. It's not black and white IMO. 

I think this attack was fairly unique in the fact that he was very selective about who he killed. The fact he managed to kill no Tunisian nationals takes some conscious selection. But I gueds the Tunisians weren"t to know that amidst the confusion.

I'd imagine this very fact has done more to frighten Anglo Saxon types than any other, knowing they may be individually selected for killing. A random bombing seems to lessen the odds and indeed does if you happen to be a Brit.

Certainly when I went to Sousse in 1986, I felt very identifiable as a tourist when I went off piste alone in the town. Something even then the travel operator said was not sensible to do.

 

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10 minutes ago, crashmonitor said:

I think this attack was fairly unique in the fact that he was very selective about who he killed. The fact he managed to kill no Tunisian nationals takes some conscious selection. But I gueds the Tunisians weren"t to know that amidst the confusion.

I'd imagine this very fact has done more to frighten Anglo Saxon types than any other, knowing they may be individually selected for killing. A random bombing seems to lessen the odds and indeed does if you happen to be a Brit.

Certainly when I went to Sousse in 1986, I felt very identifiable as a tourist when I went off piste alone in the town. Something even then the travel operator said was not sensible to do.

 

Fck me - Tunisa has skiing! Im off ...

 

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4 minutes ago, spyguy said:

Fck me - Tunisa has skiing! Im off ...

 

A term I tend to generically use re. putting yourself in danger on holiday, myself included. Picked up when Prince Charles did his off piste thing and got his friend killed. Probably a very individual use of the word.:wacko:

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1 minute ago, crashmonitor said:

A term I tend to generically use re. putting yourself in danger on holiday, myself included. Picked up when Prince Charles did his off piste thing and got his friend killed. Probably a very individual use of the word.:wacko:

Yeah but .... Charlie then copped off with Camilla. I think his mate had a relatively quick, painless death.

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One other serious point raised at the inquest was that the local beachside traders & hawkers who trawled the beaches everyday selling tat to the tourists at Port El Katoui / Sousse did not appear on the day of the attack, survivors spoke of how unusually quiet the beach was that day and the abscence of the local hawkers, the inquest posed the question: Had they been "tipped off" about the attack and so stayed away.

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Well in spite of being slated on here for my comments,  the judgement was the police were shambolic and cowardly. I'm putting myself in the place of relatives and I would be beyond angry with the police.

The entire economy of the country rests on tourism and no police manned up.

Also thank God I didn't buy TUI shares. I reckon litigation could be protracted. Travel seems a hugely risky and competitive sector anyway that I don't get as a business. S##t what must be the depreciation factor on a super cruiser for example. 

I'm probably wrong brokers currently see TUI as the Mother of all share buys. 

 

 

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Timely bump! 

Well what i have taken away from the inquest report today is this:

"The travel insurance package sold by TUI through AXA did not cover acts of terrorism"

So there is no compo for the victims if they bought the insurance package to go with the holiday as the majority would have. 

So the inquest verdict on accountabilty will be significant.

(& before it is pointed out that "most people have travel insurance through their bank account these days" 

I've found that this is ususally underwritten by AXA  too.

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