Reaction from family of Lowestoft man killed in Tunisia terror attacks following coroner’s conclusion
- Credit: Archant
The family of a Lowestoft man killed in the Tunisia terror attacks have said some questions may always remain unanswered, following a coroner's inquest conclusion.
Stuart Cullen, 52, of Lowestoft, was on holiday at the five-star Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel with his wife when the attack happened on June 26, 2015.
And Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith ruled out 'neglect' by the owners and staff at the hotel where 30 British tourists were brutally killed by an Islamic extremist as one of the causes of their deaths.
Judge Loraine-Smith said there was nothing the holiday resort could have done before the attack that would have done more than 'possibly make a difference.'
He said he could not include 'neglect' by holiday firm TUI or the owners of the hotel when ruling on the deaths of the British victims of Seifeddine Rezgui.
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Following the verdict, Mr Cullen's wife Christine and daughter Emma-Jayne said in a statement: 'The Tunisian Inquests have been conducted in a dignified and respectful manner with the upmost compassion from the coroner. We left today knowing that there are still some questions to be answered, that may always remain unanswered.
'However we feel humbled that considering this tragic incident happened on foreign soil that this country has shown nothing except empathy and support, from bringing Stuart home into Briar's Norton to the ceremony held at Westminster Abbey. Along with the in-depth investigation completed by SO15 and the kindness of our family liaison officers we cannot thank individuals enough.'
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The judge, sitting as coroner at the inquest, said the law regarding neglect did not cover tourists on holiday.
The lawyers for more than 20 of Rezgui's victims had wanted this included after the lengthy inquest heard evidence from survivors that they were not warned of the danger of holidaying in Tunisia before they left.
The inquests also heard the hotel had just a handful of unarmed guards, while local police delayed their arrival to tackle Rezgui, who killed 38 people in total.
Giving his reasons for rejecting a neglect ruling, Judge Loraine-Smith said there were a lot of 'what ifs' around the case, and better hotel security may simply have meant more people died on the beach.
The only factor that may have made a material difference was if the hotel had armed guards.
Judge Loraine-Smith said: 'Having reviewed the legal advice on gun law in Tunisia it's clear this was not a realistic option.
'The simple but tragic truth in this case is that a gunman armed with a gun and grenades went to that hotel intending to kill as many tourists as he could.'