Jerusalem attack: Heartbroken family of Hannah Bladon pay tribute to archaeology student murdered in Israel

Francesca Gillett
Young British tourist Hannah Bladon who was stabbed to death in Jerusalem on Good Friday: PA

The heartbroken family of a young female British student who was stabbed to death in Jerusalem on Good Friday have spoken of their devastation.

Hannah Bladon, 20, had taken part in an archaeological dig on Friday morning before she was murdered while aboard a train near the Old City in the Israeli capital.

Her family today described her as a “talented musician” and “enthusiastic rugby player”.

In a statement issued through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office they said: "Hannah was the most caring, sensitive and compassionate daughter you could ever wish for."

"Hannah was a talented musician, part of a serving team at her local church and a member of her local archaeological group," the family statement added.

"She was an enthusiastic rugby player and a keen Derby County supporter.

Tributes have poured in to the religious studies student. (PA)

"She was driven and passionate and her death leaves so much promise unfulfilled.

"Our family are devastated by this senseless and tragic attack."

Ms Bladon was attacked while travelling on a light rail train, which was packed as Christians marked Good Friday and Jews celebrated Passover.

She was a student at the University of Birmingham and had been on an exchange programme with the Rothberg International School at Hebrew University of Jerusalem since January. During her time in Israel she had studied bible studies, archaeology and Hebrew.

Israeli policemen block the road after the attack just outside Jerusalem's Old City (Reuters)

She was attacked by a Palestinian man who pulled a knife from his bag and repeatedly stabbed her as the tram neared Jerusalem's City Hall.

An off-duty policeman pulled an emergency brake and tried to intervene.

Paramedics treated Ms Bladon at the scene and rushed her to hospital, but she later died.

The University of Birmingham said it was "deeply saddened" over Ms Bladon's death and said it would be supporting any students affected.

The Hebrew University spoke of its "deep sorrow" over Ms Bladon's murder, saying: "We extend our deepest condolences to her family."

It added: "The university condemns such acts of terror that harm innocent people, and especially a student who came to Jerusalem to study and widen her academic horizons.

"The university administration and staff will provide all necessary support to students, faculty members and their families in Israel and around the world.

"Hannah Bladon came to the Hebrew University as part of a student exchange from the University of Birmingham.

"Hannah began her studies here at the end of January 2017 and was supposed to continue her studies until the end of the current semester."