Tycoon who described horror of attacks named as British victim

As gunmen tore through the corridors of Mumbai's exclusive Taj Mahal Hotel, Andreas Liveras, a British multimillionaire, was one of the guests who managed to describe the terrifying events to the outside world.

Crammed into a salon on the ground floor, the 72-year-old said he was safe and had survived the initial onslaught on the hotel, which began when gunmen burst into the lobby, spraying machine gun fire.

"There must be more than 1,000 people here. There are residents and tourists and locals. We are not hiding, we are locked in here," he told the BBC via mobile phone. "The hotel is shaking every time a bomb goes off. Everybody is living on their nerves."

But as the sun set on the scarred Indian city last night, it emerged that Mr Liveras, who had been in Mumbai for a yacht show, did not make it out of the Taj Mahal alive. Officials at the Cypriot foreign ministry and St George's Hospital in Mumbai confirmed that the British-Cypriot dual-national had been killed by gunshot wounds to the chest.

Like many of the hotel's guests, the shipping tycoon had gone to the Taj hotel for a curry and a convivial drink. Instead he ended up as prey for the AK-47-wielding gunmen scouring the floors looking for foreigners to murder.

Mr Liveras migrated from Cyprus to London in 1963 and took a job as a delivery boy for a bakery in Kensington. Five years later he bought the owner out and turned it into a multimillion-pound enterprise. He sold it in 1985 to set up a yacht company and this year was on The Sunday Times Rich List.

Mr Liveras had gone to visit the Taj on Wednesday because he heard it had the best restaurant in Mumbai. "But as soon as we sat at the table we heard the machine gun fire in the corridor," he said. "We hid under the table and they switched all the lights off. But the machine guns kept going, and they took us into the kitchen, and from there into a basement, before we came up into a salon where we are now." At some point during the next few hours he was gunned down, either by the terrorists or by Indian army commandos as they stormed the building.

A further seven Britons are known to have been injured in the attacks, some of whom are in a critical condition.

A phone line set up to help people track down loved ones took 1,200 calls by last night and a rapid deployment team of trauma specialists and police officers touched down in Mumbai last night.

Gordon Brown said the Government's emergency Cobra committee met twice immediately after the incident and said he was in touch with "a number" of world leaders. The Prime Minister said the attacks had been met by "shock and outrage" around the world and pledged all possible UK support for the Indian authorities. He added: "We've got to do everything we can now to help."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk