Tunisia attack inquests put back to 2017

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image captionFamily members of those who were killed in the Tunisia attack attended the pre-inquest hearing

Inquests into the deaths of 30 Britons killed by a gunman on a Tunisian beach have been pushed back to next year.

The inquests were due in November this year but judge and coroner Nicholas Loraine-Smith said there was "an enormous amount of work to be done".

He told a pre-inquest hearing at London's Royal Courts of Justice he was "sorry" the date had been moved.

Seifeddine Rezgui killed 38 people in the attack in June 2015, with so-called Islamic State claiming responsibility.

The Britons were all holiday-makers staying in the popular resort of Port El Kantaoui, just north of Sousse.

The court heard the Metropolitan Police had received 750,000 files from 40 computers and mobile phones seized by Tunisian investigators, while officers were preparing reports on each victim.

The coroner indicated the data could be reviewed for only relevant photo or documentary evidence.

He ruled the scope of the inquiry should assess security at the beach and nearby RIU Imperial Marhaba Hotel before and after the attack on the Bardo National Museum in Tunis in March 2015, in which 22 people died, including one Briton.

Suzanne Richards, from Wednesbury, in the West Midlands, lost her son Joel Richards, 19, father Pat Evans, 78, and brother Adrian Evans, 49, in the attack.

"Nothing can turn back the clock, but it is important to us to find out if any lessons can be learned to try to prevent similar heart-breaking devastation in future," she said.

Clive Garner, from law firm Irwin Mitchell, which represents the families of 16 victims, said there were "serious concerns" about "what appears to be an escalating threat of terrorist activity in Tunisia" before the attack.

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Tunisia attack: What happened

  • At approximately 11:30 local time, gunman Seifeddine Rezgui pulled a Kalashnikov from a parasol he was carrying and opened fire on the beach outside the five-star Hotel Rui Imperial Marhaba
  • He threw explosives at the pool area and then continued shooting inside the hotel reception
  • Rezgui was filmed running past the neighbouring Hotel Riu Bellevue and up a side alley, still armed with his gun and at least one other grenade
  • He was shot and killed by police in a nearby street at around 12:30
  • Thirty-eight people were killed in the attack including 30 Britons, three Irish nationals, two Germans, one Belgian, one Portuguese and one Russian, with many more injured
  • The so-called Islamic State (IS) said it was behind the attack

A previous hearing heard the inquest will look at what, if anything, the UK government and travel companies knew about the risk of an attack at the Mediterranean resort.

The coroner will also consider the "adequacy" of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's travel advice for the region.

Another pre-inquest hearing is expected on 25 May and the full inquest from 16 January 2017.

image captionMap showing route gunman took as he ran through the hotel and then back out to the beach before running up a side alley.

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