Tunisia terror attack inquest told of delay moving wounded Scot

Ann McQuire died at the scene but her husband James died later in the back of an ambulance. Picture: Contributed
Ann McQuire died at the scene but her husband James died later in the back of an ambulance. Picture: Contributed
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A Scot wounded in the Sousse terror attack died on his way to hospital after his ambulance sat motionless outside the hotel where it took place for up to 20 minutes before leaving, an inquest heard.

James McQuire, 66, was with his wife Ann, 63, on their first holiday away after retiring when extremist Seifeddine Rezgui opened fire at the five-star Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel, leaving 38 people dead.

The hearing into Rezgui’s 30 British victims heard the Glasgow-born couple, who lived in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire, were shot near the hotel swimming pool as they tried to flee.

Mrs McQuire died at the scene but her husband, who had lain wounded but conscious next to the body of his wife of 43 years, died later in the back of an ambulance as he was being taken to hospital.

Holidaymaker Carol Harrison, a staff nurse from Aberdeen Royal Infirmary who tended Mr McQuire, said apart from a doctor and the ambulance crew she saw no other medically trained people at the scene before leaving in the ambulance with him – and was told there were no first aid kits available.

She told the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London the ambulance looked more like a “patient transport” vehicle rather than an emergency one, lacking any equipment barring oxygen.

Asked how long it waited outside the hotel she said: “It was 15 to 20 minutes. I asked several times ‘can we go? This man is having trouble breathing, he needs to go to hospital’.”

After the ambulance finally left, she said, Mr McQuire suffered a cardiac arrest.

Mrs Harrison, a nurse for 37 years, told how she and husband Brian, a trained first aider, had gone to the aid of the wounded.

She said she came across “Jim from Cumbernauld” as he lay next to his wife but decided not to move him because he had been shot in the pelvis, fearing the wound, which had stopped bleeding, would restart if she did.

Mr and Mrs McQuire’s son Stuart said they had been robbed of a future retirement after years of hard work. The couple were keen musicians who performed in a band called Tartan Spirits.

More than 400 people attended their funeral at Abronhill Parish Church in July 2015.

Mr McQuire was a shipyard engineer and trade union shop steward who spent most of his working life at the Yarrow shipyard and had most recently been a consultant on the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier project.

Mrs McQuire was a lab technician turned medical receptionist whose kindness extended to delivering prescriptions to people who could not pick them up.

The inquest continues.