Inquest set for Norfolk man who died in terrorist siege at Algerian gas plant

Sebastian John, wife Nicola and son Ralph; Photo: FCO/PA Wire. Sebastian John, wife Nicola and son Ralph; Photo: FCO/PA Wire.

Thursday, January 30, 2014
6:46 PM

The inquest into the death of Norfolk man Sebastian John, who died after terrorists laid siege to an Algerian gas plant, is expected to be held later this year.

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The widow and mother of Sebastian John, Nicola John (right) and Hazel Pugh, arriving at Norwich Cathedral for his memorial service in Norwich. Photo credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire.The widow and mother of Sebastian John, Nicola John (right) and Hazel Pugh, arriving at Norwich Cathedral for his memorial service in Norwich. Photo credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire.

West Sussex coroner Penelope Schofield told those representing his family that September and October had been set aside for the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Mr John, a former Norwich School pupil, was murdered by terrorists in Algeria last January during a siege at the In Amenas gas plant.

More than 100 mourners, including his wife Nicola, the couple’s young son Ralph and Mr John’s mother Hazel Pugh, gathered at a memorial service held last February at Norwich Cathedral.

The service included a reading by Mr John’s brother, Oliver.

After leaving Norwich School, where he won a nationally recognised Arkwright Scholarship for engineering and represented the school at rugby, Mr John went on to study civil engineering at Loughborough University.

He gained a first-class degree and went on to live in Nottingham, working for an Solihull-based engineering company, until he took a job with BP.

He had also served as a president’s apprentice with the Institute of Civil Engineers, one of only six in the country.

He arrived in Algeria for a training course with the company just a week before terrorists raided the gas plant on January 16, resulting in the death of around 40 hostages, including the 26 year old.

The inquest will include the other Britons, including a UK-based Columbian national, who were also killed during the siege; Carson Bilsland and Kenneth Whiteside, both of Scotland, Stephen Green, of Hampshire, Paul Morgan and Garry Barlow, both of Liverpool, and Carlos Estrada, a BP executive who was originally from Columbia but lived in London.

They were among the 40 hostages who were killed at the In Amenas plant in the north African country during a four-day stand-off.

A further pre-inquest hearing is expected to take place at Crawley Town Hall on May 20 at 2pm.

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