Sri Lanka attacks: British brother and sister among victims

Daniel and Amelie Linsey were among eight Britons killed in Sunday's bombings
Daniel and Amelie Linsey were among eight Britons killed in Sunday’s bombings

Tributes are being paid to members of three British families who were among more than 300 people killed in Easter Sunday’s bombings in Sri Lanka.

The deaths of siblings Daniel and Amelie Linsey have “shocked” their schools, staff said.

Eight Britons died in the attacks. A former colleague of Dr Sally Bradley, of Manchester, said she and her partner Bill Harrop had been “soulmates”.

And father Ben Nicholson spoke of his “wonderful” wife and two children.

The death toll from the wave of attacks on churches and hotels in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa has now risen to 321, with about 500 injured, police say.

A state of emergency is in place to prevent further attacks.

The UK’s Foreign Office has updated its travel advice for Sri Lanka.

It warns tourists to avoid crowded public areas, plan any movements carefully and not to travel during the newly-implemented nationwide curfew.

Anita, Alex, Annabel and Ben Nicholson
Anita and her children Alex and Annabel died in the Shangri-La hotel bombing

Among the eight Britons killed were Anita Nicholson and her children Annabel, 11, and Alex, 14.

The Nicholsons had been visiting the country on holiday from their home in Singapore.

Ben Nicholson, who survived the blast, said his family were killed as they ate breakfast in the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo.

“Mercifully all three of them died instantly and with no pain or suffering,” said Mr Nicholson, who is a partner with law firm Kennedys.

He paid tribute to his “wonderful, perfect wife”, a lawyer for mining firm Anglo American.

She was “a brilliant, loving and inspirational mother to our two wonderful children”, he said.

“Alex and Annabel were the most amazing, intelligent, talented and thoughtful children, and Anita and I were immensely proud of them both and looking forward to seeing them develop into adulthood,” he added.

“They shared with their mother the priceless ability to light up any room they entered and bring joy to the lives of all they came into contact with.”

Bill Harrop and his partner Sally Bradley
Bill Harrop and Sally Bradley just lived for each other, said one colleague

Mr Harrop, who was also in Sri Lanka on holiday, had been in the fire service for 30 years before retiring in 2012, said Assistant County Fire Officer Dave Keelan, of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

“He was a much loved and respected colleague and friend. He will be greatly missed.”

His partner, Dr Bradley, who moved to Western Australia in 2012, was the director of clinical services at Rockingham Peel Group in Perth.

Executive director Kathleen Smith told 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 step-sons. She talked about them as if they were her own.”

The team from North Manchester General Hospital, where Sally had previously worked, said: “Sally was a lovely, kind individual, extremely approachable and gave so much to the NHS in Manchester during her career.”

It is not currently known which explosion killed the couple.

Godolphin and Latymer School in west London said it was “obviously devastated and shocked” by news of the death of Amelie Linsey.

And Westminster Kingsway College, where Daniel had gone to study business, said it was “saddened” to hear of his “tragic death”.

Details of the eighth British victim have not yet emerged.

How the Sri Lanka attacks unfolded.

Sri Lanka is GMT+5.5

Six near-simultaneous explosions at luxury hotels and churches holding Easter mass

08:45 local time-09:05

Three churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo’s Kochchikade district are targeted during Easter services and blasts also rock the Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand hotels in the country’s capital.

Sri Lankan government closes school for two days.

Five hours after the initial attacks, a blast is reported near the zoo in Dehiwala, southern Colombo. This is the seventh explosion.

An eighth explosion is reported near the Colombo district of Dematagoda during a police raid, killing three officers.

A member of the Sri Lankan Special Task Force (STF) pictured outside a house during a raid.
A member of the Sri Lankan Special Task Force (STF) pictured outside a house during a raid.

Sri Lankan government shuts down access to major social media messaging services

Sri Lanka’s government declares an islandwide curfew from 18:00 local time to 06:00 (12:30 GMT-00:30).

Reuters reports a petrol bomb attack on a mosque and arson attacks on two shops owned by Muslims in two different parts of the country, citing police.

Nationwide curfew is lifted.

A “homemade” bomb found close to the main airport in the capital, Colombo, has been made safe, police say.

About 07:42 local time

Death toll leaps

At least 290 people, including many foreigners, are now confirmed to have died. More than 500 are injured.

Another curfew is imposed from 20:00 local time to 04:00 23 April as a precautionary measure.

Police in Colombo have recovered 87 low-explosive detonators from the Bastian Mawatha Private Bus Station in Pettah.

People flee after new explosion

Video footage from St Anthony’s Shrine, shared by Guardian journalist Michael Safi, showed people running from the area in panic. According to BBC Sinhala’s Azzam Ameen, the blast happened while “security forces personnel… tried to defuse a newly discovered explosives in a vehicle”.

As Sri Lanka held its first mass funeral on Tuesday, the Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack via its news outlet.

Sri Lanka’s government had earlier blamed the blasts on local Islamist group National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ).

The Foreign Office has directed British citizens to two helplines:

  • Those in Sri Lanka can call the Embassy in Colombo: +94 11 5390639
  • Those in the UK who are concerned for British friends or family in Sri Lanka: Email