Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 August 2019

Dubai mother killed and colleague missing in Sri Lanka attacks

Briton Lorraine Campbell and Juno Srivastava, an Indian national, were having breakfast at their hotel when attackers struck

Sri Lankan soldiers look on inside the St Sebastian's Church at Katuwapitiya in Negombo on April 21, 2019, following a bomb blast during the Easter service. AFP / STR
Sri Lankan soldiers look on inside the St Sebastian's Church at Katuwapitiya in Negombo on April 21, 2019, following a bomb blast during the Easter service. AFP / STR

The family of a British mother living in Dubai have confirmed her death in the recent Sri Lankan bombings.

Lorraine Campbell, from Manchester, was killed when attackers bombed the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo on Easter Sunday.

Ms Campbell, 55, travelled Sri Lanka for work with Al-Futtaim Group, a large conglomerate in the UAE. Her Indian colleague Juno Srivastava is missing.

Both were believed to have been having breakfast close to where the blast occurred.

"It is with great sadness that the family of Lorraine Campbell wish to inform that she was involved in the bombing of the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka, and sadly lost her life," a statement from her family said.

"Lorraine, known to most people as Loz, was a woman who embraced life to the full and meant so much to so many people, and there will forever be an enormous void that will never now be filled.

"Loz was a wife, mother, sister and aunt, and a close friend to so many people, having risen through the ranks of the IT world, working in cities in the UK and abroad.

"Her husband, Neil Evans, is overwhelmed and comforted by the outpouring of kindness from all corners of their world."

Only weeks ago, Ms Campbell paid tribute to Mr Srivastava on LinkedIn after he won a company award. The pair are said to have been close friends.

“Massive congratulations for winning the Al-Futtaim Vice Chairman’s Values award,” she wrote. “A fantastic achievement, Juno Srivastava, and very well deserved.”

On Wednesday, Al-Futtaim Group refused to comment on the two staff members, saying it was a “private matter”.

But an internal memo to staff from a senior executive said Ms Campbell had died and that Mr Srivastava was officially listed as missing.

Relatives look on as workers place the coffin of a bomb blast victim during a burial ceremony at a cemetery in Negombo two days after a series of bomb attacks targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. AFP
Relatives look on as workers place the coffin of a bomb blast victim during a burial ceremony at a cemetery in Negombo two days after a series of bomb attacks targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. AFP

“It is with a heavy heart I inform you that two of our colleagues were caught up in Sunday’s terror attacks in Sri Lanka,” the memo said.

"Both were in Sri Lanka on business travel. Lorraine tragically lost her life. Juno has been officially listed as missing.

“In these difficult moments, my thoughts are with the families. I assure you that we are extending every possible support to them to cope with the tragic developments.

"I also want to extend my sincere condolences to any of you who have lost loved ones, family or friends in the attacks."

Mr Evans said he was in a state of disbelief after the tragedy.

“Lorraine was a real tour de force," he said. "She epitomised the qualities she lived by and was a conduit for bringing people together to both make things happen, and make them better.

“I’ve lost my best friend in the world for all the adventures we shared and planned for the future.

“I, Lorraine’s family and friends are in a state of disbelief and grief for what has happened, and as such would respectfully ask that our privacy at this difficult time is respected.”

Ms Campbell’s son, Mark Campbell, told the Daily 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.”

Ms Campbell moved to Dubai last year, where she planned to save money for her retirement.

She had been worried about travelling to Sri Lanka because of the risk of catching dengue fever, her son said.

“She was quite worked up about it but I told her she would be all right,” said Mr Campbell, 32. “I never thought something like this could happen.

Sri Lankan priests look at the debris of a car after it explodes when police tried to defuse a bomb near St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo on April 22, 2019, a day after the series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. AFP / Jewel SAMAD
Sri Lankan priests look at the debris of a car after it explodes when police tried to defuse a bomb near St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo on April 22, 2019, a day after the series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. AFP / Jewel SAMAD

“Mum was amazing. She touched everyone she met and all those people now have a huge hole in their lives.

“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.”

Mr Srivastava also taught at the Dubai campus of the UK's Middlesex University. He moved to Dubai from Cairo in 2011.

Razeena Kukkady, 58, a mother of two who lived in Dubai, was killed at the Shangri-La Hotel, another of the luxury hotels that were bombed along with churches on Easter Sunday.

Lakshan Rodrigo, who spent 13 years in the UAE before moving back to his native Sri Lanka to take a job at the Shangri-La in 2016, died while on duty at the hotel.

They are among more than 350 people who were killed in the co-ordinated bombings.

Updated: April 25, 2019 08:11 AM

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