Scottish Daily Mail
Scottish friends who hid waiting to die
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.