Tunisia attack: Grandmother killed on 10th anniversary of husband’s death
A British grandmother died in the Sousse terror attack on the 10th anniversary of her husband’s death, an inquest has heard.
Lisa Burbidge was among 38 people killed in a shooting by Islamist Seifeddine Rezgui on 26 June 2015.
The 66-year-old was on holiday with three friends at the time of the attack at the five-star Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel in the Tunisian resort.
Her two daughters wept as a portrait of her life was read to the inquest.
- Who were the British victims?
- Tunisia attack rescuers ‘wasted time’
- Survivors share their stories of terror on the beach
- What exactly happened on that day?
‘It was chaos’
The hearing into the deaths of the 30 British victims was told that Mrs Burbidge, from Gateshead in Tyne and Wear, had never got over the death of her husband, Bill, who passed away in 2005 after being diagnosed with cancer.
The inquest at the Royal Courts of Justice in London heard her that it was her two daughters who had persuaded her to take a two-week holiday in Tunisia.
Mrs Burbidge had been on the beach with her friend Jennifer McDine when they heard gunshots, the hearing heard.
Ms McDine said in a statement that she had seen a police patrol about 15 minutes earlier and had even remarked how safe Tunisia was.
Moments later she had hid behind her sunbed and glanced up to see a figure in black with a gun “just like the ones you see on the TV”.
Ms McDine then ran up the beach, thinking her friend was ahead of her, and hid inside a toilet cubicle in the hotel until the attack was over.
“It was just chaos, people were running all over the place while we were being shot at,” she added.
She and her other two friends waited in their room for hours afterwards for Mrs Burbidge to appear but she never arrived.
They had finally identified her body at the hospital mortuary by her toenail polish, the inquest was told.
A post-mortem examination found Mrs Burbidge died from a gunshot wound to the head.
A family statement read at the inquest said: “She was a beautiful person, a loving grandmother, mother, sister, daughter and best friend.”
David Thompson, who was 80 and the oldest victim of the attack, had been on holiday with his long-term partner, Anne Kear.
They were sitting by the pool when Ms Kear heard a “horrific sound like a bomb”, she said in a statement.
She started making her way to the hotel, along with a group of other holidaymakers, but realised Mr Thompson was not with her.
She said she was later taken to the hospital mortuary in Tunis to identify his body.
A post-mortem examination found he died from gunshot wounds to the chest.
Bruce Wilkinson, 72, from Goole in East Yorkshire, was staying at the hotel for the second year in a row with his wife Rita.
The couple were sunbathing together in the hotel grounds when the shooting started.
After they were told the incident was “serious” they got split up, and Mrs Wilkinson hid inside a luggage room in the hotel reception until the attack was over, the inquest was told.
The next time she saw her husband he was lying dead on the ground, killed by a gunshot wound to his neck, the inquest heard.
The inquest continues.
January 31st, 2017