Sleaford man’s death was “act of terrorism”

A businessman killed in a terrorist bomb attack at a Moscow Airport in January last year was waiting to meet up with a work colleague, an inquest heard today (Tuesday).

Gordon Cousland, 39, an analyst with 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 by the barrier through the arrivals hall.

Ms Etherden told the hearing that after going through passport control she realised something was amiss when she was directed to exit through a hole in the wall.

She said: “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.”

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 January 24 2011, which injured over 170 people.

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.”

Mr Cousland’s family did not comment afterwards.