Tunisia attack victim looked ‘like she was lying in the sun’

The husband of one of three Irish victims of the 2015 Tunisia terrorism attack has told an inquest into their deaths how he found his wife lying on the beach “with her head to one side as if she was lying in the sun”.

Tunisia attack victim looked ‘like she was lying in the sun’

The jury in the inquest into the deaths of Lorna Carty, 54, from Robinstown, Co Meath, and Laurence, 56, and Martina Hayes, 55, from Athlone, recorded verdicts of unlawful killing for all three deaths and recommended that a link to a Department of Foreign Affairs smartphone App alerting tourists to risks associated with travel abroad be permanently displayed on all travel websites.

Gunman Seifeddine Rezgui walked onto the beach and opened fire with a Kalashnikov rifle, killing 38 people before he was shot dead by authorities.

Lorna’s husband Declan Carty told the inquest how he woke to what he thought at first were fireworks. He said it sounded like a machine gun. His wife had gone to the beach.

When he saw people running and screaming along the beach he tried to ring Lorna but got no answer.

He met a staff member at the lift who pointed to his room key card and he and other guests ran to his room where they stayed until the attack finished.

Declan Carty then hurried to the beach to look for his wife. Before he found her, he lifted a beach towel placed over a body and recognised the face of Martina Hayes.

Then he lifted another towel. “It was Lorna... She was lying with her head to one side as if she was lying in the sun,” he said.

Witness Raymond Hegarty and his family ran from the pool area as the gunman approached behind them.

“I remember hearing the whizz of bullets and the thud of them hitting something,” he said. The family barricaded themselves into their hotel room and stayed quiet.

Laurence and Martina Hayes.
Laurence and Martina Hayes.

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