Scottish Daily Mail

Scot­tish friends who hid wait­ing to die

- From Chris Green­wood, Vic­to­ria Allen and Josh White in Paris

TWO best friends re­vealed last night that they sat ‘wait­ing to be shot’ as the blood­i­est mas­sacre of the Paris at­tacks un­folded above their heads.

Chris­tine Tud­hope and Mariesha Payne hid in a pitch-black cel­lar store when gun­men with AK-47s opened fire dur­ing a rock gig at the Bat­a­clan con­cert hall.

The Scots pair spent three hours fear­ing for their lives as gun­men tor­tured and mur­dered 89 mu­sic fans just feet away.

In an as­ton­ish­ing es­cape, they first cheated death by turn­ing right into the cel­lar in­stead of left where a gun­man was pick­ing off vic­tims.

They then sat in si­lence as the slaugh­ter took place above them and out­side the bar­ri­caded door, leav­ing the floor awash with blood.

Their dra­matic story of sur­vival emerged amid ap­palling new de­tails of the Is­lamist killers’ bar­baric at­tacks on Paris, in­clud­ing:

The Bat­a­clan gun­men used knives to tor­ture mor­tally wounded vic­tims, slit­ting their stom­achs as they lay on the floor.

Men were heard plead­ing for the lives of their wives and girl­friends af­ter be­ing cor­nered on a ter­race over­look­ing the stage.

Dis­abled fans in wheel­chairs were shown no mercy and the gun­men lured vic­tims to their deaths by pre­tend­ing they wanted to ‘ne­go­ti­ate’.

A team of three black-clad killers were re­spon­si­ble for un­speak­able ‘butch­ery’ as they calmly shot din­ers at three cafes and restau­rants.

Mrs Tud­hope and Mrs Payne trav­elled to Paris for a joint birth­day cel­e­bra­tion to join fans of Cal­i­for­nian band Ea­gles of Death Me­tal at the venue. But when the sounds of ‘fire­crack­ers’ broke out and they saw bul­lets hit­ting the stage, Mrs Payne shouted: ‘It’s gun­fire. Run! Get out of here!’ She grabbed Mrs Tud­hope and they ran to­wards a fire es­cape, but fate­fully turned right into a dead end, leav­ing them the only op­tion of hid­ing in the cramped cel­lar store.

They were joined by two Ital­ian men and sat in si­lence lis­ten­ing to the screams of peo­ple be­ing shot and tor­tured and the thuds of their bod­ies hit­ting the floor.

Speak­ing on her emo­tional re­turn to Ed­in­burgh Air­port last night, Mrs Payne, from Auchter­arder, Perthshire, said she thought she would die and spent the time think­ing of her two young chil­dren. ‘We knew peo­ple were be­ing tor­tured in the the­atre be­cause we heard peo­ple scream­ing, but they were not be­ing shot and these were sin­gu­lar screams,’ she said.

‘When we es­caped, a man trapped on the level where it hap­pened said to us the ter­ror­ists were stab­bing peo­ple in the stom­ach. We were told they were throw­ing ex­plo­sives at peo­ple.

‘It was a hor­ren­dous or­deal. When the po­lice came to let us out there was blood ev­ery­where, di­rectly out­side where we were. Th­ese peo­ple were cow­ards. We thought we weren’t go­ing to get out be­cause we were trapped and if any­one

‘It’s gun­fire. Run! Get out of here!’

came into the room there was no way out.’ Mrs Tud­hope, a PR ex­ec­u­tive from Sa­line, Fife, said: ‘We were sit­ting there wait­ing to be shot. But if we had gone left and gone into the street they would have shot us. They were shoot­ing from the win­dows. Turn­ing right was our sav­ing grace.’

Pierre Marie Bertin, 36, saw men plead­ing for the lives of their part­ners as the as­sault ri­fle-wield­ing killers shouted at them to ‘shut up’.

He told USA To­day: ‘There were some men that went on to the bal­cony and tried to ne­go­ti­ate for the life of their wives with one of the guys. It was sick­en­ing. You lifted your head from time to time but you pro­tected it with your hands.’ Another man, Thierry, who locked him­self in a the­atre box with about 30 oth­ers, said the gun­men tried to en­tice vic­tims to come out of hid­ing by say­ing they wanted to ne­go­ti­ate with the GIGN [French SAS] and of­fer­ing a phone num­ber.

The car­nage ended only when armed po­lice stormed the build­ing, killing one gun­man as the other two det­o­nated their sui­cide vests.

But a short dis­tance away an­other ter­ror­ist team used a black Seat car to travel be­tween three restau­rants, leav­ing more than 50 dead.

One wit­ness said three men dressed in black calmly walked down the street shoot­ing. ‘They pointed their weapons and then it was butch­ery,’ she said.

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