British businessman was killed by terrorist bomb, inquest hears

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A British businessman killed in a terrorist bomb attack at a Moscow Airport was waiting to meet up with a work colleague, an inquest heard on Tuesday.

Gordon Cousland, 39, an analyst with marketing company CACI, had travelled on an earlier flight and was waiting in the arrivals hall at Domodedovo airport when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device. Mr Cousland, originally from Sleaford, was the father of a six-month-old girl Elisa with his partner Loretta Cossu.

The inquest at Lincoln Cathedral Centre was told that Mr Cousland, who had flown from Heathrow on a business trip, arrived less than an hour before the explosion and had arranged to meet his colleague Louise Etherden.

Ms Etherden told the hearing: “He was going to be waiting by the barrier as I came through the arrivals hall.”

She said that after going through passport control she realised something was amiss when she was directed to exit through a hole in the wall.

“I went through into the departure area and saw they were wheeling through bodies on trolleys. People were just stood around. Nobody was giving direction or any information as to what was going on. I started to call Gordon to see what was going on. I saw dead bodies and people with major injuries. It was just confused.”

She told the inquest that with other work colleagues she later went to the British Embassy seeking help but it was only the following morning that Mr Cousland’s death was confirmed.

The inquest was told he was one of 39 people who died in the explosion on 24 January 2011. Over 170 people were injured.

Passenger Rosario Romano, who was on the same flight as Mr Cousland, said: “I was waiting to meet my colleague who was due to arrive from Italy. I felt a blast to my right side and then a sharp pain to my leg. The blast threw me to the floor. I saw a flash. I crawled back for cover. After a few minutes security officers appeared to help the wounded and we were moved to another area.”

Central Lincolnshire Coroner Stuart Fisher recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.

He said “I am satisfied Mr Cousland’s death was an act of terrorism.”

The coroner express his sympathy to Mr Cousland’s family saying “To lose somebody so young in this utterly tragic manner must have been the most dreadful shock.”