Billionaire ASOS tycoon who is Scotlands biggest landowner loses three of his four children in Sri Lanka Easter suicide attacks by Islamist terrorists that killed 290 people including eight Britons

Anders Holch Povlsen is the second largest private landowner in the UK and biggest shareholder in Asos

Has four children with wife Anne Storm, Alma, Astrid, Agnes and Alfred, but it is not known which have died

Previously said he planned to leave large estate to children so they could continue his rewilding project

At least 290 people were killed and 500 wounded after eight explosions rocked hotels and churches

The blasts, mostly around Colombo, have killed at least 39 foreigners including Britons and Americans

Eight British nationals, and two holding dual UK-US nationality, are among the dead, Sri Lankan officials said

Sri Lanka has blamed attack on National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ), who were subject of intelligence warning

ByDianne Apen-sadlerandJake Wallis Simons, Associate Global Editor, In Colombo For Mailonline

Published:08:06 BST, 22 April 2019Updated:10:54 BST, 23 April 2019

Billionaire ASOS owner Anders Holch Povlsen has lost three of his four children in the Sri Lanka terror attacks on Easter Sunday that killed a total of 290 people.

A spokesman for Povlsen, Denmarks richest man who also owns a huge estate in Scotland, confirmed the deaths but did not say which of his four children had been killed. The billionaire had been on holiday with his family for the Easter holidays but he, his partner, and one of his children survived.

Just days before the devastating attacks, one of Povlsens children, Alma, shared a holiday snap of her siblings Astrid, Agnes and Alfred, next to a pool.

Povlsen previously revealed he planned to leave his estate to his children so they could continue his 200-year vision for rewilding the land long after he was gone.

Sri Lankan officials have blamed a little-known Islamist group called National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ) for the terrorist attacks, adding that the organisation had international help, raising fears that ISIS was involved.

Islamist extremist material has been recovered from a hotel room allegedly used by the suspects in the Sri Lanka hotel bombings, MailOnline can reveal.

The seven bombers co-ordinated their attacks targeting five-star hotels and churches on Easter Sunday in an apparent deliberate attempt to target westerners and Christians.

Manisha Gunasekera, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK, has said eight British nationals were killed in the attacks. In total 39 foreigners have been confirmed dead including two joint UK-US nationals and a number of Dutch, Turkish, Australian and Portuguese people.

Also among the confirmed dead are a British BP lawyer, her 11-year-old son, and her daughter. Anita Nicholson was having breakfast with her family at the Shangri La hotel in Colombo when two suicide bombers walked in and blew themselves up.

Another two British teenagers are feared to be among the dead, but this has not been confirmed.

Just days before the devastating attacks, one of Povlsens children, Alma, shared a snap of her three siblings Astrid, Agnes and Alfred, next to a pool. It is not yet known which of Povlsens three children have died

Povlsen, 46, and Anne Storm Pedersen, pictured together left, met when Anne began working in sales for Bestseller. Brit Alex Nicholson, 11, was killed with his mother Anita, 42, pictured together right, as they ate breakfast in the Shangri La in Colombo

Seven suicide bombers killed at least 290 people in coordinated attacks on five-star hotels and churches on Easter Sunday. Pictured: the interior of St Sebastians church in Negombo

A crime scene official inspects the site of a bomb blast inside a church in Negombo, Sri Lanka, which lost half its roof tiles with the force of the blast

Sri Lankan soldiers secure the area around St. Anthonys Shrine after a blast in Colombo. A van exploded near where dozens of people died the previous day

Sri Lankan Police officers inspects a blast spot at the Shangri-la hotel in Colombo a day after a bomb ripped through the building on Easter Sunday

A map showing where the eight blasts went off yesterday, six of them in very quick succession on Easter Sunday morning

10.10am local time (05.40 BST): Reports from witnesses suggest that two churches in Sri Lanka have been hit by explosions as worshippers gather on Easter Sunday. The historic St Anthonys Shrine in Colombo and St Sebastians Church in Negombo are among those reported to have been hit.

10.50am: An unnamed security official suggests there have been six closely-timed attacks at three churches and three hotels and that suicide bombers may have been involved in at least two of the blasts.

12.20pm: It is reported 129 people are dead and more than 500 have been taken to hospital after blasts at six sites, according to a Sri Lanka state-run newspaper.

1.50pm:Sri Lankas top military officials are brought together for an emergency meeting of the National Security Council. The meeting is called by prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who has tweeted that the government is taking immediate steps to contain the situation.

3.45pm:Two more explosions take place, the first hitting a guesthouse in Dehiwala, in which at least two people died, and a second in the district of Dematagoda on Colombos outskirts.

5.20pm:It is reported that two police officers were killed during a swoop on suspects in Dematagoda.

5.25pm:A 6pm to 6am national curfew is imposed by Sri Lankas government. Sri Lankan Airlines tells passengers booked on flights out of the country that they will be able to fly despite the curfew. the government also locked down social media sites and messaging apps to avoid the spread of misinformation or incitements to violence.

6.10pm:The number of victims from the blasts now stands at 207 people killed and 450 wounded, Sri Lankan police say.

Officials say that seven suspects have been arrested.

8.10pm(3.40pm British Summer Time) Five Britons including two people holding joint US and British citizenship were among those killed in the attacks, the countrys foreign ministry said.

9.30pmPolice said 13  were arrested, all Sri Lankans.

Monday – 1.05pmSri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK, Manisha Gunasekera, said eight British nationals were killed in the attacks.

2.15pm- Cabinet spokesperson says National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ) are to blame for the attacks.

2.25pm- Officials said 24 suspects are in custody for questioning.

4.45pm- Sri Lankas minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels, while another 28 were wounded.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said: We do not believe these attacks were carried out by a group of people who were confined to this country. There was an international network without which these attacks could not have succeeded.

The NTJ were the subject of an intelligence warning ten days before the attacks. The warning said they were planning attacks on churches and the Indian high commission.

Police sources confirmed that the terrorists who targeted the Shangri La hotel had pamphlets and paraphernalia associated with extremist Islamic ideology in their hotel room.

The killers had checked into room 616, where investigators also found two iPhone chargers.

Detectives told local media that the Shangri-La blast was a result of at least 55lbs of C-4 plastic explosives, though the conclusions await formal confirmation by a Government analyst.

Povlsen, 46, is married to Anne Storm Pedersen. The pair met when Anne began working in sales for Bestseller.

The pair have 11 Scottish estates, and a castle, covering an astonishing 221,000 acres. He isBritains biggest private landowner, surpassing the Dukes of Atholl with 144,000 acres and the Prince of Wales, who owns 130,000 acres.

He began building this ever-growing property portfolio 12 years ago, in the autumn of 2006, with the 7.9 million acquisition of Glenfeshie, a 42,000-acre patch of the Cairngorms National Park.

Povlsen and Anne are said to have a 200-year vision for their estates, which involves rewilding the land, reports theTimes.

In the vision, Povlsen said he planned to pass the estate along to his four children and that they would continue his work.

His father, Troels, began his fashion empire with a single store in 1975. Povlsen now employs 15,000 people and owns brands such as Jack & Jones and Vero Moda, along with almost 30 per cent of ASOS.

Its success has helped him build a fortune estimated at 5.4 billion.

Povlsen and his wife live at Constantinsborg, a neo-classical former royal palace near Aarhus.The couple send their four children to state schools.

In a statement, Bestsellers spokesperson Jesper Stubkier said: I can confirm that three children have been killed.

We have no further comment and we ask that the familys privacy is respected at this time.

Blasts ripped through landmarks around the capital Colombo, and on Sri Lankas east coast, targeting Christians, hotel guests and foreign tourists yesterday. More than 500 people were wounded.

The National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ) are a relatively unknown radical Islamist group said to have formed in Kattankudy, a Muslim-dominated town in eastern Sri Lanka, in 2014. It has no history of mass fatality attacks.

Before yesterdays bombings, their main claim to fame was being linked to vandalising of Buddhist statues.

Sources in the Muslim community in Sri Lanka claim the group has publicly supported Islamic State. They also say that Zahran Hashim, named in reports as one of the bombers, was its founder.

Authorities said 24 people have been arrested and that they were hunting for links between the group and foreign backers.

We dont see that only a small organisation in this country can do all that, cabinet member Rajitha Senaratne said.

The Soufan Center, a New York based group that monitors global security threats, said the Sri Lanka bombings bore all the hallmarks of attacks by other Salafi-jihadist groups, particularly those where local groups receive foreign support.

It highlighted the Christmas Eve bombings in Indonesia in 2000, where al-Qaeda worked with local group Jemmah Islamiyah, and the 2005 hotel bombings in Amman masterminded by an Al-Qaeda affiliate.

These attacks are designed to increase sectarian tensions and destabilise the governments of the countries where they take place, said a Soufan Center study.

A report released by the group in January said Al Qaeda and Islamic State wanted to recruit followers in South Asia and their propaganda highlighted injustices against Muslims in Bangladesh, Myanmar, India, and Sri Lanka.

NTJ secretary Abdul Razik has been arrested several times on charges of inciting religious unrest.

In January, Sri Lankan security forces discovered 100 kilogrammes of high explosives and 100 detonators near a remote wildlife park.

While no group was accused, authorities said four Muslim radicals had been detained.

Major questions are now being asked over whether Sri Lankan police did enough to head off fears of suicide attacks on churches.

Sri Lankas police chief issued a warning on April 11, saying a foreign intelligence agency had reported NTJ was planning attacks on churches and the Indian high commission.

Brit Alex Nicholson, 11, his younger sister Annabel and his mother, Anita, 42, were killed in the Table One cafe on the second-floor of the Shangri La hotel in the countrys capital, Colombo, at around 8.30am,The Telegraphreported.

They were on a family holiday. Alexs father Ben Nicholson survived the blast.

Lawyer Shakya Wickramanayake told the Times Mr Nicholson found his sons body at a mortuary

She said: The sister and mother were found dead before we met Mr Nicholson. Alex was found in the police mortuary mid-afternoon.

The Nicholsons worked as lawyers based in Singapore, according to their online profiles.

Mrs Nicholson, a former legal adviser to HM Treasury, moved to Singapore to work for oil firm BP in April 2012. According to her Linked profile her current employer was Anglo America, the mining company.

Mr Nicholson was a partner in the Singapore office of Kennedys Legal Solutions and advises clients on insurance law.

An explosion went off in a van near one of the churches attacked as bomb squad officials attempted to defuse it on Monday.

The explosion happened around 50 metres from the St Anthonys Shrine, one of three churches targeted in a string of suicide bombs.

A six-foot pipe bomb was later found by air force personal on a routine patrol at the countrys main airport Bandaranaike International, also known as Katunayake Airport or Colombo International.

A PVC pipe which was six feet in length containing explosives in it was discovered, Air Force Spokesman Gihan Seneviratne told the Sri Lankan Sunday Times.

The airport was put on lockdown while the security forces examined and detonated the device, according to reports from the scene.

Its not clear what kind of detonation method or target was planned, but Air Force Group Captain Gihan Seneviratne said the bomb was large enough to have caused damage to a 400-meter radius.

Sri Lankan authorities also found 87 bomb detonators in the capital earlier today. Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekaran said police found 12 detonators scattered at the main bus depot and hours later found another 75 detonators at a garbage dump in the same area.

Yesterday morning, six bombs went off in quick succession before another two blasts two hours later in Sri Lankas worst violence since the end of its decades-long civil war in 2009.

Three of the near-simultaneous blasts targeted worshippers attending Easter services on the holiest day in the Christian calendar.

Ben and Anita Nicholson. Mrs Nicholson was killed in the blast at their hotel yesterday morning along with her 11-year-old son Alex and their daughter Annabel

The benches and pews were scattered or reduced to splinters by the blast, one of eight which killed 207 people on Easter Sunday

An explosion went off in a van near one of the churches attacked as bomb squad officials attempted to defuse it on Monday

Sri Lankan authorities also found 87 bomb detonators in the capital earlier today. Pictured: the moment the van exploded

Sri Lankan people run for safety as authorities announced an evacuation of the area after a van was found parked with a suspected explosive device near St Anthonys Church in Kochchikade, Colombo

Sri Lankan security forces stand at the site after a vehicle parked near the blast site, which went off just a day after a bomb killed worshippers on Easter Sunday

Families on holiday were massacred by three further explosions at luxury hotels in Colombo as they sat down to enjoy breakfast at around 8.30am.

Sri Lankas minister of tourism has said 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels, while another 28 were wounded. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt condemned the the horrifying attacks which he said had killed several British nationals.

Further fatalities are said to include three Indians, two Turks, two Australians, one Portuguese citizen and an unknown number of Dutch and Chinese nationals.

The first American to be named as being among the dead is Dieter Kowalski, from Denver, Colorado. He had not been heard from since he landed in Sri Lanka early Sunday morning. He was in the country for work.

In a Facebook post on Monday, his grieving brother confirmed his death.

It is with great sadness and deep regret that as Dieters brother that I confirm that Dieter was among the victims that passed away in Sri Lanka.

As we know that Dieter saw his friends as family, we would like to share our grief over this tragic incident. More information to follow. We have all lost a brother today… RIP Dieter, he said.

Kowalskis friends and family had tried to get information about him from the hotel and the Consulate General of Sri Lanka.

He worked for an education technology company. He wrote on his Facebook page that he was travelling to Sri Lanka on business.

Twenty-four suspects have been arrested, as it emerged the countrys police chief had warned of an Islamic extremist plot to target prominent churches just 10 days earlier, but no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Interpol is deploying a team of investigators, including experts in disaster victim identification, to Sri Lanka to help local authorities in the aftermath of the attacks.

It is deploying an Incident Response Team (IRT) at the request of the Sri Lanka authorities, including specialists with expertise in crime scene examination, explosives, counter-terror and victim identification.

Blood stains are seen on the wall and on a Jesus Christ statue at the St. Sebastians Church after blast in Negombo, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka,after the bombing

Smoke rises after a vehicle parked near St Anthonys shrine exploded a day after bombings ripped through churches and luxury hotels killing 290 people

A Sri Lankan woman living near St. Anthonys shrine runs for safety with her infant after police found explosive devices in a parked van

Sri Lankan soldiers rushed through the streets around the capital after the  explosion today. Authorities in the country have blamed the attacks on an Islamist group

Three men inspect damage from the roof of a restaurant at the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo a day after the hotel was hit in series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels

Relatives weep near the coffin with the remains of 12-year-old Sneha Savindi, who was a victim of Easter Sunday bombing at St. Sebastian Church today

Sri Lankas defence ministry has now ordered curfew with immediate effect until further notice while access to social media messaging services has been shut down.

The President of Sri Lanka has also given the military sweeping war-time powers to arrest and detain suspects. President Maithripala Sirisenas office announced late Monday that the measure would take effect at midnight.

In Colombo, St Anthonys Shrine, a Roman Catholic church, the Cinnamon Grand; Shangri-La; and Kingsbury hotels were targeted in the first wave of explosions.

At the Shangri-La, security camera footage showed two men detonating devices in the Table One restaurant and a hotel corridor.

Other blasts hit St Sebastians Church in Negombo, a majority Catholic town north of Colombo, and at Zion Church in the eastern town of Batticaloa.

Later in the afternoon, two died in a strike at a hotel near a zoo in the south of Colombo, before a suspected suicide bomber killed police officers in the suburb of Orugodawatta in the north of the capital, as police moved in on the suspected terrorist safe house. In all 24 suspects were arrested.

Sri Lanka defence secretary Harsha de Silva said: Horrible scenes, I saw many body parts strewn all over.

The country went into lockdown amid worrying reports there had been missed opportunities to stop the carefully planned bombings.

Prime Minister Theresa May joined leaders across the world in condemning the atrocities while President Donald Trump vowed to stand ready to help.

The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time.

Alex (left) and Anita (second left) were killed in the blast. Ben Nicholson (right) is reported to be in complete shock having received minor injuries

Alex Nicholson, 11, left, was killed with his mother Anita, 42, right. His younger sister Annabel was also killed. Manisha Gunasekera, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK, has said eight British nationals were killed in the attacks

Dieter Kowalski, 40, a resident of Denver, Colorado, who was in Sri Lanka on business, was among those killed in the explosion at the Cinnamon Colombo hotel on Sunday, his family has confirmed

Sri Lankan police have responded in considerable numbers, blocking off the affected sites and sending in crime scene officials to scour for evidence

Sri Lankan military stand guard near the explosion site at a church in Batticaloa,with police tape keeping out bysanders

Sri Lankans carry a dead body at St Sebastians Church damaged in a blast in the seaside town of Negombo, north of Colombo

We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear, Mrs May said.

Pope Francis denounced the cruel violence of the Easter Sunday attacks and urged prayer for all those affected. Sri Lankas Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the cowardly attacks on our people.

Millions of tourists visit Sri Lanka every year but political crisis and religious tension have placed the industry under threat in recent months.

Ten days ago, according to documents seen by the AFP new agency, Sri Lankas police chief Pujuth Jayasundara issued an intelligence alert to top officers warning Islamist suicide bombers planned to hit prominent churches.

A foreign intelligence agency has reported that the NTJ (National Thowheeth Jamaath) is planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian high commission in Colombo, the alert said.

The NTJ is a small radical Muslim group in Sri Lanka which has no history of mass fatal attacks, but came to prominence last year linked to the vandalism and desecration of Buddhist statues.

Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe admitted that information about the attacks had been received in advance but denied having direct knowledge himself.

We must look into why adequate precautions were not taken. Neither I nor the ministers were kept informed, he said following intense anger in the community.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: Im deeply shocked and saddened by the horrifying attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka today, and the tragic news of more than 200 people killed, including several British nationals.

To target those gathered for the simple act of worship on Easter Sunday is unspeakably wicked.

Pictured: The aftermath following an explosion at St Anthonys Church in Kochchikade in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 21 April 2019

Sri Lankan soldiers secure the area around St. Anthonys Shrine after a blast in Colombo on Easter Sunday

Sri Lankan soldiers secure the area around St Anthony Shrine after a blast in Colombo, today. Authorities blame the seven suicide bombers of a domestic militant group for the coordinated Easter bombings that have killed hundreds of people

Everyone has a right to practise their faith in peace, safety and security but tragedies like this, and the one in Christchurch, remind us that there are some who hate these rights and freedoms.

These despicable acts were carried out at a time when millions of Christians celebrate Easter while living under the shadow of persecution. Many gather in churches at risk of attack; countless more will have suffered threats or discrimination.

The UK stands in solidarity with persecuted Christians around the world and with the government and people of Sri Lanka. My prayers are with all the victims and their families.

The countrys President Maithripala Sirisena said he was shocked by the explosions and appealed for calm, while Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called the attacks cowardly.

I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong. Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation, the PM said.

A social media ban was also put in place in order to prevent incorrect and wrong information being spread in what officials said was a temporary measure, alongside an indefinite curfew.

The magnitude of the violence recalls the bombings perpetrated by the separatist Tamil Tigers that targeted a bank, a shopping centre, a Buddhist temple and hotels popular with tourists a decade ago.

In 2009, Sri Lankan security forces defeated Tamil Tiger rebels who had fought to create an independent homeland for the countrys ethnic minority Tamils.

Only around six percent of mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka is Catholic, but the religion is seen as a unifying force because it includes people from both the Tamil and majority Sinhalese ethnic groups.

While anti-Muslim bigotry has swept the island in recent years, fed by Buddhist nationalists, the island also has no history of violent Muslim militants. The countrys small Christian community has seen only scattered incidents of harassment in recent years.

Two government ministers have alluded to intelligence failures.

Telecommunications Minister Harin Fernando tweeted@ Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence. Therefore there was a delay in action. Serious action needs to be taken as to why this warning was ignored.

He said his father had heard of the possibility of an attack as well and had warned him not to enter popular churches.

Mano Ganeshan, the minister for national integration, said his ministrys security officers had been warned by their division about the possibility that two suicide bombers would target politicians.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, said the attacks could have been thwarted.

We placed our hands on our heads when we came to know that these deaths could have been avoided. Why this was not prevented? he said.

Bestseller-ejers tre børn dræbt i angreb i Sri Lanka

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