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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 September 2006, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
Dead tourist's parents speak out
Christopher Stokes
Christopher Stokes studied for a degree in Sheffield

The parents of a tourist shot dead by a gunman in Jordan initially thought it was their other son, serving in Iraq, who had been killed.

Christopher Stokes, 30, an accountant from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, died when a gunman opened fire on tourists near the Roman amphitheatre in Amman.

Rod and Norma Stokes' other son, Phil, is a Territorial Army (TA) sergeant serving in Iraq.

They said they thought he was dead when police turned up at their home.

Phil Stokes is returning home from Iraq after being informed of his brother's death.

Blacksmith Nabil Ahmad Issa Jaaoura, 38, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, has been arrested in connection with the shooting.

We thought it was the safest of the places he was going to
Rod Stokes, Christopher's father
The couple said they felt "blank" when police and neighbours broke the terrible news to them.

Mr Stokes' mother, Norma, said her son loved to travel but she always feared for his safety when he was abroad.

"He knew how I felt about it but Chris was Chris, and he enjoyed it, and you have to let them go," she said.

She added that having both her sons in dangerous places was "stressful".

"It would be difficult whichever one of them it was, but I suppose you're more prepared for the fact that it might have been Phil than Christopher.

"It's equally devastating whichever one."

Norma and Rod Stokes holding photo of their son, Christopher
Mr Stokes was among six Western tourists shot at by the gunman
Mrs Stokes is a preacher at Smithy Bridge Methodist church and said there would be people praying for the family, and also for the gunman, but she did not know if she would be one of them.

His father, Rod, said they knew where he was going and were worried about him.

"We knew he was going to dangerous places, and we knew he was there," he said.

"We thought, he's out of Turkey and Syria, he's probably OK now.

"But he wasn't. We thought it was the safest of the places he was going to."

Five injured

Five other tourists were injured in the shooting - they included two British women as well as tourists from New Zealand, the Netherlands and Australia.

A member of the local tourist police was also injured.

Eyewitness reports said the attacker shouted "God is great" at the tourists in Arabic before firing at least 12 shots at them.

He fled into the crowds when his ammunition ran out but was arrested shortly afterwards, eyewitnesses said.

Last November, 60 people were killed in a series of attacks on hotels in Amman.

The Jordanian authorities have since installed metal detectors and military vehicles that are often on duty at the hotel gates.

Mr Stokes graduated with a degree in law at Sheffield University before working in Bradford and Leeds.

After three years working for an audit company in Dublin, he left his job four weeks ago ahead of his Middle East tour.


SEE ALSO
Jordan says attacker acted alone
05 Sep 06 |  Middle East
UK tourist speaks of gun terror
05 Sep 06 |  Middle East
Gunman fires on Jordan tourists
04 Sep 06 |  Middle East

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