Coroner to deliver the verdict on beach killings

Denis and Elaine Thwaites
Denis and Elaine Thwaites
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A coroner will tomorrow deliver the erdict on the deaths of 38 holidaymakers massacred in a beachfront terror attack in Algeria.

Blackpool couple Denis and Elaine Thwaites were among the people killed when Seifeddine Rezgui opened fire at the five-star Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel on June 26, 2015.

Mr Thwaites, 70, was from Stockton and his 69-year-old wife originally from Birmingham. However, the couple had lived in Blackpool for many years.

Mr Thwaites was a professional footballer who played for Birmingham City between 1962 and 1972.

Tomorrow will see the verdict delivered after an inquest lasting more than a month at London’s Royal Court of Justice.

Over the weeks, the hearing was told that Algerian security forces had deliberately delayed their arrival at the hotel while Rezgui continued to open fire on holiday makers with an automatic weapon.

On the final day of evidence it was claimed that lives could have been saved if travel firms had tightened up their security protocols.

The court heard that there were only three security guards and a lack of CCTV coverage.

It was also claimed that gates between the hotel and beach had been left open and that the lack of security provision had made the Riu Imperial Marhaba a target for a terrorist attack.

The inquest was also told that the Algerian government had issued a terror alert to travel companies after Islamic militants attacked the Bardo National Museum in the capital Tunis earlier in the year.

Judge Loraine-Smith will consider whether the victims were in a position of dependency, if there was gross neglect, and if that gross neglect contributed to the deaths, in deciding whether to give a “neglect” verdict.