A father whose wife and two children were killed when a bomb ripped through their hotel restaurant in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday has said his family and friends will be "forever devastated".

An inquest concluded today that Anita Nicholson, 42, and her children Alexander Nicholson, 14, and 11-year-old Annabel Nicholson were all unlawfully killed in the blast at the Shangri-la Hotel in Colombo on April 21 this year.

The family, who had moved from Grays to Singapore in 2010, were on holiday at the time.

Ben Nicholson was on holiday with his wife and children but survived the blast.

He said in a statement released after the inquest that he was grateful to the coroner for the sensitive handling of the inquest and for the support of police "during this difficult time".

He said: "Our family and friends will forever be devastated by the events of April 21 and the loss of Anita, Alex and Annabel from our lives.

"The positive impact that Anita, Alex and Annabel had on the people around them is reflected not only in the enormous loss we are all feeling, but also in the many moving personal tributes received over the past six months.

"Those tributes, together with our own wonderful memories, have helped to sustain us through this tragic loss.

"We are sincerely grateful for the many messages of condolence and the support received from friends, colleagues, the rugby community and the many members of the general public who have been in contact since Easter Sunday.

"The kindness shown to us has been truly appreciated."

Mr Nicholson said that the Anita, Alex & Annabel Memorial Fund has been established in their memory.

He added: "Nothing can ever reverse the loss of Anita, Alex and Annabel, but it is comforting to know that the donations made in their name will be used to improve the lives and life chances of some of the poorest people in Asia, and also to support struggling families at home."