A couple have spoken of their fear after narrowly avoiding being caught up in last week’s terror attack in Paris.
John Davis and his wife Helen were on holiday in the French capital to celebrate John’s 60th birthday.
John said: “We were deciding where in Paris to go out for the night and opted to go to the Champs Élysées.
“We ended up being less than three quarters of a mile from where it all kicked off.
“We were at Notre Dame and strangely I was on the phone to my mum, thanking her for the birthday cards and how we had arrived safely in Paris.
“Suddenly all of these cars passed us. We saw loads of police cars, ambulances and sirens going.
“We walked along the bank of the Seine and saw the whole stream of cars. It was unrelenting as they were all heading in the same direction. The whole thing was quite terrifying.”
One police officer died in the attack after a gunman wielding a machine gun leapt out of a car and opened fire on a police van on the Champs Élysées last Thursday night (April 20), as candidates for the presidential election were engaging in their final TV debate.
Two others were seriously wounded.
ISIS claimed the attack was carried out by one of its ‘fighters’. The gunman, Karim Cheurfi, a 39-year-old French national, was shot dead as he tried to make his escape.
John added: “When we found out what had happened we were absolutely shocked. We got a call from my wife’s daughter asking if we were OK. We heard a second gunman was on the loose so we thought we had better head back to our hotel.”
John and his wife, who live in Little Common, near Bexhill, headed to Notre Dame the next day to find armed guards with machine guns pacing the streets. He described the scene as ‘very eerie’.
He said: “We went to the Eiffel Tower as well and the security there was very, very tight.
“It was a very strange experience for us. We had just gone out for a romantic walk and all this kicked off. It was very scary.”
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage
2) Like our Facebook page
3) Follow us on Twitter
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
Always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.