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Tunisia Beach Victims Repatriated To Britain

01/07/2015 20:33 BST | Updated 01/07/2016 10:59 BST

The bodies of eight Britons killed in the Tunisian beach massacre have been repatriated to the UK.

Relatives wept and comforted each other as the C-17 military transport aircraft, which left Tunis airport earlier today, landed at Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

tunisia repatriated britain

The coffin of Denis Thwaites, one of the victims of last Friday's terrorist attack, is taken from the RAF C-17 aircraft at RAF Brize Norton in Tunisia, on July 1, 2015 in Brize Norton, England

The coffins of Adrian Evans, Patrick Evans, Joel Richards, Carly Lovett, Stephen Mellor, John Stollery, and Denis and Elaine Thwaites were adorned with white flowers and were carried off the plane by members of the armed forces.

They were among the 38 people shot dead by student Seifeddine Rezgui, 23, at the beach resort of Sousse on Friday.

The repatriation process of all the victims is expected to take a number of days.

More of the 30 Britons who died were named today as tributes continued to be paid to those killed.

The family of John Welch, 74, from Corsham in Wiltshire, have had confirmation that he died in the terror attack, Wiltshire Police said.

Mr Welch was in Tunisia with his partner of eight years, Eileen Swannack, aged 73, and the couple were regular visitors to the beach resort of Sousse.

Police are still waiting for the formal identification of Eileen Swannack but it is highly likely that she also died with her partner.

As the plane landed, a statement issued on behalf of Suzanne Richards for the Evans and Richards families said: "We are a very small and normal family, but nothing will ever be normal again.

"My son Joel, dad Pat and brother Adrian were our rocks and we are all heartbroken and devastated and will never get over losing them."

Joel's 16-year-old brother Owen survived the attack.

tunisia victims repatriated britain

British nationals Adrian Evans, Charles Evans, Joel Richards, Carly Lovett, Stephen Mellor, John Stollery, and Denis and Elaine Thwaites are the first of the victims of last week's terror attack to be repatriated

Ms Richards said the holiday was intended to be a celebration and had only just begun.

"The 'jolly boys outing' as they called it, was to celebrate Joel finishing his 2nd year at University with high grades and Owen finishing his GCSEs," she said.

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