Sri Lankan bombings: British victims 'unlawfully killed' says coroner

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Image caption,
Anita Nicholson and her children Alex, 14, and Annabel, 11, died in the Shangri-La hotel bombing

A mother and her two children were among six British nationals killed in the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka, an inquest heard.

Anita Nicholson, 42, and her children, Alexander, 14 and Annabel, 11, died instantly in an explosion at the Shangri-la Hotel in Colombo.

Lorraine Campbell, Bill Harrop and Sally Bradley also died in the blast at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel.

All six were unlawfully killed, the coroner recorded.

Mr Harrop, a retired firefighter and his wife, Dr Bradley, had been on holiday from their home in Australia when they were killed in an explosion at the restaurant of their hotel on 21 April.

The couple, originally from Manchester, had been described as soulmates.

Image caption,
Bill Harrop and his partner Sally Bradley

Ms Campbell, an IT director who was originally from Manchester but had relocated to Dubai, was in Sri Lanka on a business trip. Her family has spoken of the "enormous void" created by her death.

Her partner, Neil Evans, told the inquest he knew something was wrong when she stopped replying to Whatsapp messages. He said he had lost his best friend, confidante and soulmate.

Ben Nicholson survived the blast which killed his wife and children.

Singapore home

The family had been visiting Sri Lanka from their home in Singapore having previously lived in Upminster, East London.

Mrs Nicholson, a lawyer for mining firm Anglo American, went to college in Thurrock, Essex and had been living in Singapore with her family since 2010.

Senior coroner for Essex Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded that all six were unlawfully killed as she concluded inquest hearings in Chelmsford.

She told the families: "You've lost loved ones in these most appalling of circumstances. I would like to express sincere condolences to you upon your tragic loss."

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Image caption,
The damaged Shangri-La hotel in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo

Mr Nicholson described his wife as "a wonderful, perfect wife" and a "brilliant mother to Alex and Annabel".

The six British Nationals were among 310 victims of a wave of bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.

Two other Britons, brother and sister Daniel and Amelie Linsey, 19 and 15, were killed in the blasts.

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