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How two British fathers embraced at Sri Lankan morgue while searching for their children

Two fathers who saw their British children killed in the Sri Lankan terror attacks embraced as they searched for their families in the bloody aftermath of the Easter Sunday bombings.

Matthew Linsey told yesterday how he met Ben Nicholson as they searched for their children in a hospital. 

Mr Linsey, 61, told the Mail: ‘We hugged and tried to support each other. We helped each other.’  

It comes as British IT director Lorraine Campbell, 55, from Manchester, was feared dead last night. 

Sri Lanka bombings:  From left to right Daniel and Amelie who died in the second blast, with father Matthew, older brother David and mother Angeline – at the Borobudur Indonesia Temple

Mr Nicholson (pictured with his family) has revealed his family were dining inside the Table One restaurant in the Shangri-La hotel, Colombo, when the bomb hit and 'mercifully died instantly and with no pain or suffering'

 Mr Nicholson (pictured with his family) has revealed his family were dining inside the Table One restaurant in the Shangri-La hotel, Colombo, when the bomb hit and ‘mercifully died instantly and with no pain or suffering’

Hours earlier they had been strangers having breakfast in the Table One restaurant at the Shangri-La Hotel in the capital Colombo with their families when it was bombed.

In the first blast, Mr Nicholson’s wife Anita, 42, his son Alex, 14 and daughter Annabel, 11, were all killed instantly.

Investment manager Mr Linsey and his children Daniel, 19, and Amelie, 15, tried to flee, but the teenagers died in a second blast designed to target survivors and any rescuers rushing to their aid.

In a TV interview yesterday, Mr Linsey described his last minutes with his children.

Speaking to CNN in his London garden as eldest son David, 21, held him, Mr Linsey said the bomb was like a ‘wave of pressure’, and told how his children were serving his breakfast when the bomb exploded.

Matthew Linsey speaks to CNN about the bomb attacks in Sri Lanka in which his son Daniel and daughter Amelie were killed

Matthew Linsey speaks to CNN about the bomb attacks in Sri Lanka in which his son Daniel and daughter Amelie were killed

He added: ‘My children were so nice – they actually went down to the buffet and filled up my plate.

‘Then I wanted more to drink. I was going to get it, my daughter said, ‘No, I’ll get it’ – and then the bomb went off and they both were running toward me, and I’m not sure whether that’s what killed them or not.

‘I knew there’d be another bomb because there always is.’

He said he wanted to escape as fast as possible with his children but the three of them fled straight into the second blast, adding: ‘Maybe I should have just stayed and covered them with my body.’

He revealed how he tried to revive Daniel, a student at Westminster Kingsway College, before helping to carry him to an ambulance.

Mr Linsey said: ‘They both were unconscious. My daughter seemed to be moving, my son wasn’t. A woman offered to take my daughter downstairs to the ambulance – I needed help moving my son.

‘Someone helped me move him down the stairs and they both ended up in the same hospital.’

He added: ‘I lost track of my daughter in the confusion.

British lawyer Mr Nicholson with his wife Anita

Mr Nicholson with his children Alex and Annabel

British lawyer Mr Nicholson with his wife Anita (left) and children Alex and Annabel (right), who were killed ‘instantly’ in the Sri Lanka terror attack on Easter Sunday

‘I went with my son. I yelled and screamed for them to help him. The doctors did try, but the equipment was rudimentary.’

He later found Amelie – a pupil at the Godolphin & Latymer School in Hammersmith, west London – dead in the hospital. It was there that he met Mr Nicholson looking for Alex.

Mr Linsey, who has returned home to central London to be with his wife and other two sons, who were not on the holiday, said he was still in touch with Mr Nicholson, adding: ‘He is a lovely man. I spoke to him today. He is still there trying to organise the repatriation of his family.’

Mr Nicholson, 43, a lawyer from Essex who lives in Singapore, has told how his ‘perfect’ family ‘mercifully died instantly’ with ‘no pain’.

Mr Linsey also described the distressing wait to have his children’s remains returned to him.

The father of four added: ‘I had to send photos of my two children to a doctor in Sri Lanka so he can identify them. I wish they could speed up the repatriation of the bodies.’

Amelie and Daniel were born in Britain but had both US and UK citizenship because their father was born in America. However, Mr Linsey said he felt let down by the support provided by the British Embassy, adding: ‘I’m an American citizen and my children have dual passports. I did ask to see someone from the British Embassy as my children have dual passports, but no one came over. I was disappointed.

‘The US Embassy may have had more staff but the ambassador saw me twice. I also had a Marine stay with me and a legal adviser got me out through road blocks with diplomatic plates. We need more communication on the ground.’

The number of people killed in the atrocities in which churches and luxury hotels were targeted has risen to 359 – with more than 500 wounded. Another 18 suspects were arrested overnight, raising the total detained to 58.

A blast at a cinema in Colombo today was a controlled explosion carried out by police.  

Among the Britons killed were GP Sally Bradley and her husband Bill Harrop, 56, a retired firefighter, who died when the Cinnamon Grand Hotel was bombed. 

Dr Bradley, sister of peer and former Labour MP Keith Bradley, had been living with her husband in Australia since 2013 but they were due to return to Britain to retire in the Cotswolds.

Expat British IT worker, 55, who was last seen eating breakfast in hotel targeted by Sri Lankan suicide bomber is feared to be final UK victim of the atrocity

By Inderdeep Bains and Neil Sears

A British IT director was feared dead last night after she was last seen having breakfast moments before a suicide bomber struck at a hotel buffet in the Sri Lanka terror attacks.

Lorraine Campbell, 55, from Manchester, is the last of eight British victims caught up in the atrocities on Easter Sunday to be named, her son said last night.

The mother-of-one, who had just arrived in Colombo on a business trip, had been staying at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel – one of three 5 star hotels targeted by suicide bombers.

Her devastated son Mark Campbell, 32, told the Mail: ‘I have been told it is her although she has got to be formally identified. I know it is my mum. She has been taken from us in a terrible way.’

British IT director Lorraine Campbell, 55, from Manchester, was the eighth British victim killed in the atrocities to be named

British IT director Lorraine Campbell, 55, from Manchester, was the eighth British victim killed in the atrocities to be named

She was last seen alive on CCTV footage having breakfast with colleague Juno Srivastava at the hotel’s Taprobane restaurant – where she was said to have been sat ‘very close’ to the blast site.

The successful businesswoman had relocated to Dubai to work for a large firm last year with her husband Neil Evans who has flown to Sri Lanka to try to find her.

A suicide bomber – who had checked into the hotel the night before the attack as Mohamed Azzam Mohamed – had waited patiently in line at the breakfast buffet with a plate in hand.

An employee at the hotel, who had reviewed CCTV footage, said: ‘He had a couple of servings before he came right to the centre of the restaurant and blew himself up.’

Dhivya Marunthiah, who is a volunteer helping in the search for missing people, said: ‘Both Juno and Lorraine were sat very close to the blast area.

‘Footage from inside the hotel shows them having breakfast together near to where the bomb was detonated in the moments before.

‘We have been looking for Lorraine and Juno for two days.’

Mr Campbell, who lives in Stalybridge, Manchester, said his mother had been anxious about travelling to the island ahead of her fateful visit.

He said: ‘She had messaged me before the trip to say she was nervous about flying there because of Dengue fever.

‘She was quite worked up about it but I told her she would be all right. I never thought something like this could happen.

‘Mum was amazing. She touched everyone she met and all those people now have a huge hole in their lives.’ He added: ‘I saw her only a couple of weeks ago when she came back for Mother’s Day which was really nice.

‘She had only been in Sri Lanka for a day for work. I think her company had some dealers or suppliers she needed to meet.’

Mrs Campbell, who married husband Neil in Liverpool last February, had been with Mr Srivastava a ‘loyal friend’ who works for her at Al Futtaim – a firm which runs malls across the Middle East.

The Indian national – who also lives in Dubai and is a lecturer at Middlesex University’s Dubai campus – was still missing last night.

Mr Campbell said his mother remarried in February last year after finding ‘everything she ever wanted’ in business man Neil.

‘Mum never thought she would get married again but she met Neil who was everything she wanted in a man – smart, intellectual and successful in his own right.

‘He gave up his business career here to start a new life in Dubai with Mum. They had a three year plan to make some money tax free and then come home to enjoy life,’ he said.

Mr Campbell, who works in music management, said: ‘Mum was a strong woman. She was an IT director who couldn’t turn on a lap top but her strength was people, getting results and generally getting the job done.’ 


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