Blackpool Tunisia victims’ family: We will try to rebuild our lives as best we can

Denis Thwaites, 70, and his wife Elaine, 69
Denis Thwaites, 70, and his wife Elaine, 69
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The family of a murdered Blackpool couple who were gunned down in Tunisia today vowed to continue their fight for justice.

Denis and Elaine Thwaites were among 30 Britons to be “unlawfully killed” by radicalised Islamic extremist Seifeddine Rezgui, a coroner ruled yesterday.

Coroner Nicholas Loraine-Smith rejected calls from lawyers for some of the dead people’s relatives to rule “neglect” by travel firm TUI or the hotel owners played a role in their killing.

But today the couple’s family said they will “continue to fight so our loved ones have not died in vain.”

A statement issued on behalf of the couple’s daughter Lindsey Clifford and her husband Danny said: “Elaine and Denis Thwaites, were tragically ripped apart from us on June 26, 2015.

“They went on holiday and, along with 36 other loved ones, of which 30 (were) British, who never came home.

“They were beautiful, kind people, who lit up every room they embraced.

“They were truly loved and liked by all their family and friends.

“They had friends in many places around the world as they were just the best

“It just showed by the tributes that came in and the warming messages of support we received.

“Our family and friends are completely devastated and may never move on from this, but we will try to rebuild our lives the best we can.

“Elaine and Denis were our rocks. Our small family has been ripped apart from four to now two.

“They will live in our hearts forever and will always give us comfort when we need it most.

“This inquest has been a very difficult and tiring process for us and we can now move forward with the next chapter. We thank the coroner for his work in this process.

“The evidence heard raised concerns about the security arrangements and the response to the attack.

“We await the coroner’s prevention of future deaths report but it would seem that there are questions to answer about the security.

“We are disappointed that a hotel of this stature and five-star platinum rating could be an easy target due to failures and our loved ones may still be here today.

“We understand that the coroner has to keep to the facts but we will continue to fight so our loved ones have not died in vain.

“It should be a travel company’s focus in the ever-changing, dangerous world we live in, to fully inform clients of the travel advice, and inform (them of) any changes, not just when (travel) is embargoed.

“Had many of our loved ones had this information they would not have travelled and the coroner agreed with this.

“As families we will push for change and it is our wish that travel companies create more awareness to clients before deciding on their holidays.

“Plus we want travel companies to be more robust and take control when it comes to security audits in hotels.

“The ‘it will never happen to us attitude’ is very real and we know this can happen to anyone.

“In a changing world where the risk of terrorism is higher, the travel industry and the government agencies involved, like the FCO, must work far more closely and push these changes to reduce the risks to British Tourists.”