I have forgiven terrorists who killed my lover in the Bataclan
Girlfriend of Brit victim ‘has no hate’
THE girlfriend of the Brit killed in the Bataclan gun massacre today says: “I have forgiven his killers.”
Helen Wilson, bleeding from her own wounds, cradled Nick Alexander as his life ebbed away in the Paris theatre in 2015.
She desperately gave mouthto-mouth resuscitation but could not save 35-year-old Nick.
The merchandising manager was among 90 killed at the Bataclan, while 40 died in simultaneous attacks in the French capital – and 416 were injured.
Helen, 56, who was shot in both legs, wants to meet jailed Salah Abdeslam, the lone survivor of a 10-man cell that carried out the attacks.
She says: “I don’t think hate and vengeance does anyone any good, and forgiveness is the healthiest way you can deal with something like this.”
Helen gave evidence in the 10-month trial of Abdeslam and 19 associates in Paris, where she lives. She attended court most days and believes the jihadist’s claims of remorse were genuine.
Abdeslam was given a whole life sentence after being found guilty of terror-related murder and attempted murder.
The court found his explosives vest malfunctioned, dismissing his argument that he ditched the vest after deciding not to go through with the attack.
Helen says: “I’m not sure if life imprisonment is the way to go. I can’t say whether he meant to use his bomb, but from watching him in court I believe he’s being very honest. I was there the first day he said he was sorry and I believe he is.
“But I don’t think locking someone up and throwing away the key is the answer.
“He’s at risk of further radicalisation in jail. If I spoke to him I’d tell him I’m sorry he had to do something like this to be heard. I don’t think he is genuinely bad.”
Nick and Helen, who is originally from the US, were watching American rock band Eagles of Death Metal when three gunmen burst in and opened fire on 1,500 fans. The night has haunted Helen, who is now working with the Association for Victims of Terrorism.
She hopes to set up a programme to help jailed terrorists. She says: “I’ve been going into schools and speaking about my experience as well as other parts of my life. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I’ve been able to evolve into somebody helping them. I hope to be able to talk to kids in danger of radicalisation. It feels amazing to be able to help a child.
“And I hope we’ll be able to speak to guys in jail. I want to get involved in the solution... to help these people. I want them to know life doesn’t end with this. I was led astray when I was young and I understand being young and angry.”
Helen initially blamed herself for not being able to save Nick, from Colchester, Essex. She says: “I’m still struggling to find real peace, but I can at last sleep. Each step I’ve taken has been arduous and complicated.
“Nick is always on my mind. Sometimes I feel he’s watching down on me. I hope he’s proud.” Helen uses art to help handle grief. Her work includes the last moments she remembers inside the Bataclan that terrible night.
She adds: “I started painting recently and after I completed each one I felt so much relief.”