"I was praying, let that not be Monique", husband says of Dutch woman killed in Sri Lanka bombings

The reception area of the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka
The reception area of the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (Photo: AndyDearden/Wikimedia Commons)

Monique Allen, 54, was one of 310 people killed in terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka on Sunday. "She was the best wife, the best mother", her husband Lewis Allen said to BBC.

Monique was on holiday in Sri Lanka with her husband and their three sons. On Sunday morning she and son Jason went down for breakfast at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo, while Lewis and their other two sons stayed in the room. While they were at breakfast, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb in the buffet room.

"My son Jason and my wife were sitting right next to each other. And then the explosion happened", Lewis said to BBC. "My son blacked out for a few minutes. And he woke up and he saw his mother with a big head wound and lots of blood."

Lewis and his other two sons found Jason injured in a hospital, but he could not find his wife. A doctor eventually told him to go check the mortuary. "We went to the mortuary, and they pulled back sheet after sheet. And I was praying, let that not be Monique, let that not be Monique. And then they lifted the sheet on one and it was my wife there", Lewis said. "I was in shock. I thought I was having a nightmare. I didn't think it was real."

"She was the best wife, the best mother, the best daughter. She was very kind, very selfless. She always thought of herself last", he said. 

Two other Dutch people, a 48-year-old woman and her 12-year-old daughter, were also killed in the suicide bombing at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel. That bombing was one of eight attacks committed in Sri Lanka on Sunday morning, targeting churches and hotels. At least 310 people were killed and over 500 injured. 

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