A Whaley businessman has spoken of the frenzied phone calls his daughter made to him as she fled the Tunisian gunman – with bullets and grenades exploding in the background.
Glenn Leathley, 57, received two phone calls from daughter Olivia, 23, as she fled from the Islamic State gunman on Friday, June 26.
Olivia, who was on holiday with boyfriend Mike Jones, 24, at the resort of Sousse, made the first call just after 12 noon.
She had been in her hotel room at the time of the attack, and did not realise what was happening until going to investigate loud bangs – and seeing victims of the atrocity trying to escape.
Recalling the conversation with his daughter, Mr Leathley said: “She called me saying that the hotel was under attack, that she could hear gun shots, and that people were running into her hotel to escape them.
“As a father, it was alarming to hear that your daughter is in danger. I could hear bullets and grenades exploding.
“But I just tried to reassure her, give her advice to keep safe.”
Five minutes later, Olivia called again.
Mr Leathley, who owns Chronicle Accountants, in Market Street, Whaley Bridge, said: “The second call was a lot more panicky.”
Olivia told him that the gunman – who had initially opened fire on the beach outside an adjacent hotel – was now working towards Bellevue Park hotel, where the couple were staying.
“I just tried to reassure her again,” said dad-of-eight Mr Leathley. “But in the back of my mind I was thinking ‘if there are a lot of gunmen they might not stand a chance’.
“It was terrifying, but I tried to keep calm and just offered the best advice I could at the time.”
Olivia and Mike left their hotel room and escaped out of the front entrance onto the street.
From there, Mr Leathley said they went into an office building with no windows and stayed there for around two hours.
He said: “Olivia sent me a message over Facebook once it was all over to say that they were both safe – I was so relieved.”
“They are both back in the UK again now. They are both well, despite everything that has happened.”
The attack by gunman Seifeddine Rezgui claimed the lives on 38 people, including at least 30 Britons.
In the wake of the attack, David Cameron has said the fight against Islamic State is “the struggle of our generation”.