David Dixon: British victim's family confirms death of 'beloved' father in Brussels attacks

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The Independent Online

A British man missing since the Brussels attacks have been confirmed dead, his devastated family have announced.

David Dixon, a father of one, had texted relatives confirming he was “fine and safe” following twin suicide bombings at Brussels Airport on Tuesday.

But minutes later he entered Maalbeek station to board a Metro train where another Isis supporter blew himself up.

Friends and relatives had been launching desperate appeals for information on Mr Dixon’s whereabouts the wake of the bombings that killed more than 30 people.

“This morning we received the most terrible and devastating news about our beloved David," a statement from the family said. ”At this most painful time our family would gratefully appreciate it if we could be left alone to grieve in private.”

A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the Government's thoughts were with the family, who are being supported by embassy staff.

Mr Dixon, an IT programmer from Hartlepool, had been travelling to work but did not arrive at his office.

His partner, Charlotte Sutcliffe, carried out searches of Brussels hospitals in the hope of finding him, but to no avail. 

The couple had been together since they met at university and have a seven-year-old son.

Mr Dixon’s aunt, Ann Dixon, said she texted him as soon as news of the Brussels Airport explosions started to spread at 8am on Tuesday morning.

“It was a relief when he texted back soon afterwards and said he was safe and fine,” she said. “He said he hadn’t even realised that there had been bombs going off at the airport, I guess it’s because he was getting ready to go to work.

“He travelled into Brussels on the Metro every day and after we’d texted he must have gone straight out and got on the Metro that was attacked. It was only an hour later when that bomb went off.”

Seven British nationals are known to have been injured in the attacks and three are still undergoing treatment in hospital.

Belgian police and emergency personnel work near the Maalbeek metro station following an explosion in Brussels ()

Health officials said the death toll stood at 31 the day following the attack, with almost 300 people injured, but declined to give a final figure as identification efforts continued and several victims remained in a critical condition.

The British Government issued temporary warnings against travel to Brussels but has since downgraded the alert, telling citizens to remain vigilant to the threat of “indiscriminate” attacks.

David Cameron held an emergency Cobra meeting in the wake of the massacres and security has been increased at key locations and transport hubs across the UK.

Isis has claimed responsibility for the atrocity, saying Belgium was targeted because of its role supporting the international coalition conducting air strikes against its militants in Iraq and Syria.

Three terrorists died in the explosions and a massive manhunt was launched to track down other suspects believed to be behind the blasts.

Six people have been arrested in connection with the attacks so far and investigations continue, Belgian prosecutors said.