The ex-partner of the Brit killed in the Bataclan atrocity has told of how the recent wave of Islamic terror strikes in France has forced her to “relive the trauma”.
Helen Wilson, 54, almost died when she was shot in both legs during the Paris massacre five years ago today – and cradled Nick Alexander, 35, as he died.
Their two-year relationship ended in 2007 but they stayed close and she was with Nick the night before the attack.
She said: “I said you’re the love of my life, he said the same. The next day he passed away in my arms.”
Nick, a merchandise seller of Colchester, Essex, was the only Brit among the 89 killed at the Eagles of Death Metal gig at the venue.
France has recently been hit by attacks including the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty in Paris and a triple murder at a Nice church.
American-born Helen, who lives in Paris, said: “They keep happening here. I relive the trauma and the event, like it happened yesterday. I feel afraid. I have horrific nightmares.”
But she refuses to leave, saying: “I have lived here 20 years, the love of my life died here. I’ve modified my behaviour to [cope]. I don’t take public transport. I’ve been to concerts but stood near the exit.”
Helen said the five-year anniversary of Nick’s death will be “as hard as the first”.
And the moment the killers opened fire still haunts her. She said: “Nick saved my life. He took the bullets meant for me.”
Helen “lost everything” after the horror as her catering firm collapsed and she had pain and mobility issues from her injuries, plus PTSD.
Contact with Nick’s family and other survivors helped – and she now works with the Association of Victims of Terrorism.
She said: “I’ll be speaking about how to continue to live after something like this. About peace, love and a positive future.”