A father whose wife and two children were killed in the Easter Sunday terror attacks in Sri Lanka has paid tribute to his family.

Lawyer Anita Nicholson, 42, and her two children - son Alex, 14, and daughter Annabel, 11 - are among eight British victims of a series of bombings which have claimed the lives of at least 290 people.

Ms Nicholson was waiting for breakfast with Alex and Annabel when the Shangri-La Hotel in the capital city of Colombo was targeted.

Mr Nicholson, also a lawyer, was also present but survived the attack.

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In a statement, the father-of-two said: "I wish to confirm that my wife Anita, our son Alex and our daughter Annabel were killed in the bombing of the restaurant of the Shangri-la Hotel, Colombo on Sunday morning while sitting at our table.

"Mercifully, all three of them died instantly and with no pain or suffering.

"I am deeply distressed at the loss of my wife and children. Anita was a wonderful, perfect wife and a brilliant, loving and inspirational mother to our two wonderful children. The holiday we had just enjoyed was a testament to Anita's enjoyment of travel and providing a rich and colourful life for our family, and especially our children.

"Alex and Annabel were the most amazing, intelligent, talented and thoughtful children and Anita and I were immensely proud of them both and looking forward to seeing them develop into adulthood. They shared with their mother the priceless ability to light up any room they entered and bring joy to the lives of all they came into contact with.

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"I would like to give my sincere thanks for the medical teams at General Hospital, Colombo, for treating Anita, Alex and Annabel with great dignity and me with kindness and sympathy.

"I would also like to thank the teams at the British High Commission and Adhvan Tours who have looked after me since Sunday morning and the Sri Lankan people I have encountered in Colombo following this catastrophe.

"Anita, Alex and Annabel leave behind a large extended family and many close and cherished friends who are now grieving this tragic loss. We shall all miss them dearly. We are all grateful for the many expressions of support and good wishes. We would ask that the media now respect our privacy and allow us to grieve together."