Grieving relatives of British tourists killed in the 2015 Tunisia terror attack are preparing to sue travel firm TUI over the deaths of their loved ones at the hands of an Islamic extremist.
Lawyers said they planned civil proceedings against the tour operator after the coroner conducting the inquests of the 30 Britons, including four Scots, murdered on the Mediterranean coast in Sousse ruled they were unlawfully killed.
Shocking evidence about the level of security precautions at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel at the time of the terrorist attackKylie Hutchison, Families’ solicitor
However, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith ruled against a finding of “neglect” by Thomson owner TUI, or the owners of the Riu Imperial Marhaba where radicalised mass-killer Seifeddine Rezgui slaughtered a total of 38 people, including three Irish citizens.
The families of the dead, many of whom wept as the inquests’ conclusions were read out yesterday, were highly critical of security at the hotel, which only had a handful of unarmed guards on duty when Rezgui struck, armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and home-made grenades.
They also believed that TUI did not do enough to warn holidaymakers before they booked about the dangers in Tunisia, which saw a fatal terrorist attack in the capital Tunis just three months earlier.
This included making them aware of official Foreign Office travel advice which warned of a high threat of terrorism.
Kylie Hutchison, from law firm Irwin Mitchell, which represents 22 victims’ families, said they had heard “shocking evidence about the level of security precautions at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel at the time of the terrorist attack”.
Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice after the inquests finished, she said: “It is now crucial that the whole travel industry learns from what happened in Sousse to reduce the risk of similar catastrophic incidents in the future.
“On behalf of our clients who lost members of their family and those who suffered injuries in this terrible incident, we will now be preparing to commence civil proceedings against TUI.”
The inquest had heard from a holidaymaker who said his wife raised the March 2015 attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis with a travel agent, and said they had been told it was a “one-off” and that Sousse was “100 per cent safe”.
A Thomson travel agent previously told the inquest she did not give a safety guarantee to the couple, and that she would not say somewhere is completely safe.
Rezgui, who had been radicalised just 18 months before the 26 June attack, killed holidaymakers on the hotel’s private beach before walking through an unlocked gate into the grounds and the main building to continue the slaughter.