Funeral anguish for Luxor massacre family

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The Independent Online
The body of Joan Turner (above), the British grandmother killed in the Luxor massacre, has been mixed up with that of a Swiss tourist and flown to Switzerland by mistake.

The error brought further distress to members of her family, who are also mourning the loss of Mrs Turner's daughter Karina, 24, and five-year- old granddaughter Shaunnah, who were also murdered.

Halifax deputy assistant coroner James Turnbull admitted yesterday that a body which had been lying in a funeral parlour in the town since the weekend was not the 53-year-old Briton but was probably that of a unknown Swiss tourist. He added: "It is probable an unidentified body in Zurich is Joan Turner. In view of that, the coroner has withdrawn the burial order until matters are sorted out." He said dental records had been swapped with officials in Zurich.

Mrs Turner's family were preparing to bury her in her home village of Ripponden, near Halifax, West Yorkshire, today with her daughter and granddaughter.

A family member, who has not been named, had originally identified Mrs Turner's body at the coroner's area of Heathrow airport last Saturday. A post-mortem examination was carried out and it was moved to a funeral parlour in Halifax while the family made funeral arrangements.

A total of 68 people - mostly tourists - were killed when militant Islamic gunmen opened fire on tourists visiting ancient monuments in the southern Egyptian town. The other British victims were: George Wigham, 69, and his wife Ivy, 71, from Swanley, Kent, and 26-year-old Monarch Airlines stewardess Sylvia Wilder, who lived in London.

A militant organisation calling itself the al-Gamaa al-Islamiya (The Islamic Group) admitted responsibility for the attack, claiming it was a failed attempt to take hostages to trade for the freedom of its spiritual leader, an Egyptian cleric jailed in the US for plotting to bomb New York landmarks.

Meanwhile Thomson, the UK's biggest tour operator, announced yesterday that it has cancelled the rest of its winter tours to Egypt following the massacre. The company said it had made the decision after the "vast majority" of its customers booked to Egypt had opted to transfer or cancel.