Tunisia beach massacre victim identified by glittery nail varnish, inquest told


A victim of the Tunisia beach massacre was identified by her glittery nail varnish after being shot in the neck and chest, an inquest has heard.

Trudy Jones, 51, from South Wales, was a divorced single mother-of-four, who was holidaying with friends when she was killed.

An inquest at the Royal Courts of Justice in London is set to hear evidence about each of the 30 British victims murdered in the atrocity.

The first victim the inquest heard about was Ms Jones.

She was on holiday with a number of friends, including Carol Anne Powell, when gunman Seifeddine Rezgui Yacoubi killed 38 tourists at the five-star Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Sousse on June 26 2015.

Ms Jones made her way to beach while Ms Powell sat by the pool.

In a statement, Ms Powell said that after hearing an explosion from the beach area she wanted to check on Ms Jones but found that people were running towards her telling her to "go".

She described getting caught up in the "chaos" and eventually deciding to play dead in a hotel car park.

A man picked her up and put her on his shoulders - while she continued to play dead - before carrying her to the safety of a neighbouring hotel.

"I am desperate to find out who he is because he saved me," said Ms Powell.

In the following days she attended the mortuary where the victims' bodies were being held.

Samantha Leek QC, counsel to the inquest, said: "She (Ms Powell) looked at photographs. She initially did not see anyone who looked like Trudy.

"A couple of hours later she saw a photograph that looked like her."

The inquest heard that Ms Powell was then shown a body which corresponded with that picture.

Ms Leek continued: "She recognised the glittery nail varnish on her toes."

The court was told that a post-mortem examination was carried out in Tunisia and another in the UK - where Ms Jones was also identified through dental records.

Both gave the cause of death as a single gunshot wound to the neck and chest.

In a pen portrait, Ms Jones's family described the carer as a loving mother, grandmother, sister and daughter.

In a statement to the inquest, they said: "She was a beautiful, person inside and out. She would put everyone's happiness before her own.

"Making others happy made her happy."

The statement continued: "You only had to meet her once and you would never forget her. She was an amazing lady. The world was a much better place with her in it. Truly one of a kind."

Ms Jones was just 48 hours away from returning home to Blackwood, South Wales, when she was killed.

The hearing also heard from eyewitness Simon Greaves who cried as his statement was read.

It said: "I saw male one (Yacoubi) standing over someone. I heard a single shot - like an execution."

He described diving behind a sun lounger for cover and finding a man who had been hit and was shouting "I've been shot you f***ing bastards" and "my leg, my leg".

Evidence was also heard into the deaths of Janet Stocker, 63, and her 74-year-old husband, John.

The couple had been sunbathing on the beach when they were gunned down.

Eyewitness Anthony Miller said they "did not stand a chance" when Yacoubi opened fire at holidaymakers.

He and his wife, Julie, had met the couple a year earlier and become good friends.

They spent much of the 2015 holiday in each other's company and had even planned to go for dinner on June 27 so the Stockers could end their trip "on a high".

But two days before they were due to return home in Morden, Surrey, they were shot dead.

In a statement read to the inquest, Mr Miller said: "I heard what I thought were firecrackers going off. I looked up and saw the man standing over Janet and John had something in his hands.

"I thought 'I don't believe this is happening'. It seemed to me he was not very good with the gun. He seemed to have a job controlling it.

"He was swinging it side to side. I think that may have saved us."

Mr Miller went on to explain that he knew his wife would not be able to run, so he pushed her down into the sand, lay on top of her, and told her to play dead.

Describing what he saw of the Stockers, he said: "I thought he (John) was alive. Janet had slumped forward, half on and half off the sunbed. I am not sure how many times they had been shot.

"They must have been the first to be shot. They didn't stand a chance."

Mr Miller continued: "I realised there was nothing I could do for John and I needed to look after my wife."

Post-mortem examinations gave the Stockers' causes of death as gunshot wounds to the pelvis.

The inquest also heard tributes from the Stockers' families who said the couple were "still very much in love with each other".

They added: "They were a happy couple, both young at heart, and enjoyed all life could afford.

"They were frequent flyers and enjoyed travelling to new places and exploring.

"John and Janet's home life revolved around the most simplest of pleasures - family and friends.

"They died together doing what they enjoyed most - being side by side."

The inquest resumes at 10am on Tuesday.