Silence held to honour Tunisia dead

Silence held to honour Tunisia dead

Britain has paid a solemn tribute to those killed in the Tunisian beach massacre with a minute's silence.

The tribute came as it emerged the youngest victim of the terror attack died after being shot in the head alongside his grandfather.

Joel Richards, 19, & Patrick Evans, 78, both died from a "gunshot wound to the head" while his uncle Adrian Evans, 49, moreover died from gunshot wounds, an inquest at West London Coroner's Court heard.

Joel's brother Owen, 16, survived the attack. He & his mother Suzanne observed the minute's silence at the family's beloved football club Walsall, where they were joined by the squad, manager Dean Smith & hundreds of supporters.

Wearing the club's red shirt with his arm around his mother, Owen bowed his head as he observed the sombre moment at the club's Banks's Stadium, where a carpet of flowers, Walsall flags & shirts have been left in tribute to the family.

Joel was a talented young referee, & a member of the Birmingham County Football Association referee's department blew a whistle to mark the start & end of the silence, before the club's chaplain Peter Hart said a short prayer.

Darren Cooper, leader of Sandwell Council, where Adrian Evans worked as a gas services manager, led crowds at the authority's offices in the minute of remembrance.

He said: "We are united, we stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of adversity, & we will never ever allow terrorists to divide us or our communities."

Elsewhere the Queen & the Prime Minister joined millions of Britons in the minute's silence observed at noon to remember those killed on the beach at Sousse.

It came as the bodies of 25 of the 30 British victims killed in the beach massacre have been returned to the UK, with the final five returning tomorrow, the Foreign Office said.

Those brought back to British soil today were Christopher & Sharon Bell, Scott Chalkley, Sue Davey, Angela & Raymond Fisher, Eileen Swannack, & John Welch.

Some 30 British people were among the 38 murdered by gunman Seifeddine Rezgui last Friday.

Millions observed the minute's silence. Wimbledon fell still as spectators congregated on Murray Mound to bow their heads, before clapping when the minute was over.

Matches started at 12.15pm rather than the usual 11.30am to allow players, staff & fans to take part.

The Queen & the Duke of Edinburgh observed the silence as they visited the University of Strathclyde's Technology & Innovation Centre, while David Cameron marked the moment in his Oxfordshire constituency.

As pedestrians & tourists alike bowed their head in London's Parliament Square during the silence, flags above Whitehall fluttered at half mast, a poignant symbol mirrored at public buildings throughout the country.

Outside Buckingham Palace hundreds of people gathered at the gates & lined the pavements, before a brass band marched out of the main gates.

At the Essex County Ground in Chelmsford the touring Australia Ashes cricket team joined Essex players & officials to bow their heads during a break in play.

Tunisian prime minister Habib Essid joined the UK's ambassador to the country Hamish Cowell at a memorial event on the beach in Sousse.

Armed police patrolled the beach while dozens of tourists gathered around a sea of flowers at the scene of the attacks.

Elsewhere, Tamworth fell silent to remember Ms Davey, who was killed along with her partner Mr Chalkley.

Flags on Tamworth Castle & the town's Marmion House were flown at half mast, & a book of condolence was opened by the council for people to remember her.

In Crawley, West Sussex, where victims retired printer John Stocker, 74, & his wife Janet, 63, had roots & some of their relatives still live, the silence was observed impeccably.

Mayor of Crawley Chris Cheshire said after the silence: "We wanted to find a way, not just marking the one minute's silence, yet by somehow transmitting the fact that our love & care for them will somehow sustain them."

The final two Britons to be identified have been confirmed as Angie & Ray Fisher, from Leicester, believed to be aged 75 & 69.

Mosques across the UK moreover fell silent to mark the occasion as Muslims paid their own tributes during the holy month of Ramadan.

The Muslim Council of Britain has urged British Muslims to make their voices heard to pray for peace, & speak out against terrorism.

It is believed Rezgui – who was shot dead by police – had accomplices who helped him to carry out the atrocity.

The Tunisian government said seven men & one woman are in custody, suspected of having direct links to the massacre, & four others have been released.

According to Tunisian officials, the gunman trained at a Libyan jihadist camp at the same time as the two gunmen who attacked the Bardo museum in Tunis in March, killing 22 people.

Source: “Press Association”