Sri Lanka Easter Sunday massacre: Victim was a trainee doctor at Blackpool Victoria Hospital

One of the victims of the Easter Sunday massacre in Sri Lanka learnt her trade at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, it has emerged.

Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 10:46 am
Updated Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 2:16 pm
Dr Sally Bradley, right, with her husband Bill Harrop (Picture: Sally Harrop/Facebook)

Dr Sally Bradley, 56, died in the Cinnamon Grand Hotel bombing, alongside her retired firefighter husband Bill Harrop,

The pair lived in Australia and were on holiday when a series of near-simultaneous devastated churches and hotels.

At least 321 people were killed, including 45 children and a total of eight Britons, with Islamic State now claiming responsibility for the attacks and releasing a video showing who it claimed were the eight suicide bombers who carried out the atrocities.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Dr Bradley worked at the Vic, in Whinney Heys Road, as a junior doctor in the 1980s and also lived in the accommodation there.

She reportedly began her career as a GP in Salford, Greater Manchester, before later becoming the director of public health in Manchester and then medical director of the Pennine Care NHS foundation trust.

Dr Arif Rajpura, Blackpool’s director of public health, met Dr Bradley several times at work events and regional conferences.

He said he was watching the news on the TV when he heard her name mentioned – but initially thought it must be a different Sally Bradley.

“When I found out it was Sally it was a shock,” he said. “I still can’t believe she’s gone really.

“It’s extremely upsetting. She was such a great dedicated colleague who always had time and was very supportive.

“She will be a massive loss and we are all feeling it.”

Dr Bradley was described by her former colleague Dr Anton Sinniah, a clinical director and consultant at North Manchester general hospital, as a "lovely, kind individual, extremely approachable" and somebody who "gave so much to the NHS in Manchester during her career".

Jim Potter and Raj Jain, the chairman and chief executive of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, which runs Salford Royal and Pennine Acute NHS trusts, said: “Sally was a well-respected clinician, GP and former director of public health in Manchester."

They said Dr Bradley had made a “significant personal and professional contribution to patient safety and public health”.

Kathleen Smith, a boss at the Rockingham Peel Group in Perth, where Dr Bradley worked, told Australia’s 6PR radio: “She absolutely loved living in Australia. She felt very at home here. They [Dr Bradley and Mr Harrop] were soulmates, they just lived for each other.

“He had two boys, which Sally took on as her stepsons. She talked about them as if they were her own.”

Dr Bradley was sister to the Labour peer Keith Bradley, who called her a “remarkable and wondrous woman”.

Lord Bradley said: “The light may have been cruelly distinguished for no reason or justification, but she will always live in our hearts and the memories she provided will be forever cherished. I, and my family, will miss her more than words can articulate.”

Specialist officers from the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command have been sent to Sri Lanka, an island country in South Asia, to support the bereaved, while Scotland Yard has asked for images or video taken during the attacks.

Also among the British victims were Anita Nicholson, her son Alex, 14, and daughter Annabel, 11, who died when one of seven suicide bombers struck as they ate breakfast at the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo.

Londoner Matthew Linsey's daughter Amelie, 15, and son Daniel, 19, were killed in the same blast on the final day of their holiday.

The eighth victim is reported to be Lorraine Campbell, 55, from Manchester, with one national newspaper saying she was staying at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel on a business trip.

Her son Mark told the paper: "I have been told it is her. She has been taken in a terrible way."

Police have appealed for anyone with images or video from the period surrounding the attack to contact them - and officers have been sent to airports in the UK to speak to anyone returning from Sri Lanka.

Alexis Boon, of the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command, said: "We are specifically looking for images and footage taken at the scenes of the incidents in Sri Lanka, immediately prior to, during, or after the attacks on 21 April.

"The material will be looked at by officers from the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, to assess it for use in any subsequent coronial process."

MPs observed a minute's silence in the Commons on Tuesday in memory of those killed in the Sri Lanka terror attacks, with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt calling it a "truly heartbreaking situation".

He said that in addition to the eight Britons who died, a locally employed British Council employee was "in hospital with his wife, both with serious injuries".

Sri Lanka held a national day of mourning on Tuesday as the country's prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe warned that suspects armed with explosives were still at large.

As the country paid its respects, the inquiry into what the intelligence services knew about the attack continued.

Ruwan Wijewardene, minister of defence, said "weakness" within Sri Lanka's security apparatus led to the failure to prevent the nine bombings.

He said :"By now it has been established that the intelligence units were aware of this attack and a group of responsible people were informed about the impending attack."

The president Maithripala Sirisena went further, saying that officials who failed to share information would face "stern action".