Family claims Luxor victim's body was looted before being flown home

Click to follow
The body of a British woman who was killed in the Luxor massacre was being flown back to Britain after being sent to Switzerland by mistake. Jojo Moyes and Steve Crawshaw heard also that the bodies of two other British victims had been looted.

Urgent arrangements were being made to fly the body of Joan Turner, 53, back to Britain so a triple funeral, originally scheduled for yesterday, can take place.

Relatives of Mrs Turner, her daughter Karina, 24, and grand-daughter Shaunnah, five, were only told on Wednesday that hers was not the body in a funeral parlour in West Yorkshire. It is believed that the body of a Swiss citizen's body was wrongly sent to this country.

The Foreign Office has said the mix-up began when a member of British Embassy staff wrongly identified a Swiss national as Mrs Turner before the body was flown to Britain. An unnamed family member then also wrongly identified the body at Heathrow Airport before a post-mortem examination was carried out.

The mistake was discovered when staff in Zurich realised that one of the bodies taken there was not that of the Swiss citizen who was killed when militant Islamic gunmen opened fire on tourists at the resort of Luxor, southern Egypt, killing 68.

Meanwhile, the family of an elderly couple killed in the terrorist massacre said their bodies were looted before they were sent home.

Julia Lewis, girlfriend of the couple's son Paul, said the body of Ivy Wigham, 71, came home without her jewellery.

"Ivy had taken her wedding and engagement rings on holiday with her. When her body arrived back home she only had her bum-bag and sunglasses with her," Ms Lewis said. "It is the last straw when this kind of thing has happened after their tragic death."

Egypt has gone one step further in its war of words with Britain, publishing a denunciation of alleged terrorists abroad. An Egyptian government booklet, Call to Combat Terrorism, says that militants are "currently enjoying secure and convenient asylum in some world capitals". The booklet calls on the international community "to deny such terrorists any safe haven". However, critics of Egypt say that its government has been ready to label as "terrorists" those who are political opponents.

President Mubarak has already attacked Britain for its allegedly soft line on terrorism.Call to Combat Terrorism lists 14 leading Muslim militants, mostly with photographs. At least two of the men named are based in London - including Yasser el-Serri, who claimed this week that his application for asylum in Britain would be granted "very soon". Mr el-Serri has been sentenced to death in Egypt in connection with an assassination attempt on the then Egyptian Prime Minister.

Comments