A couple who survived the Bataclan terror atrocity have returned to Paris on its third anniversary in a defiant gesture to the killers – and to finish the sightseeing trip cut short by the outrage.
Tony Scott, 48, and Justine Merton-Scott, 47, were at the Eagles of Death Metal show where 90 people were massacred on November 13, 2015.
While recovering from the trauma they joined a network of British survivors and they have now bravely chosen to go to the Bataclan and take part in an official memorial service on .
They then plan to visit the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Elysees and the Eiffel Tower to tick off what had been planned on their 2015 trip.
Tony said: “We found that once we got back from Paris the world was upside-down. We didn’t know who or where to turn to and felt so disorientated.
“It was only after we found out about Life For Paris and got in touch with other UK survivors that we realised there are organisations you can turn to.
“It’s like a family connection – so we decided to go back for the anniversary.”
Justine added: “We’re going to do some sightseeing as well, because sightseeing didn’t happen three years ago.”
The couple had booked a trip to Paris and the gig tickets to celebrate Tony’s 45th birthday. They were on a balcony overlooking the stage when gunmen opened fire on the crowd.
Yoga teacher Justine said: “We heard shouting and chants and I remember thinking it was gunfire. I was thinking, ‘Is this part of the act, because it’s not very funny’.
"I saw the band run off the stage and the people at the front piling to the exit at the side. I just remember Tony yelling, ‘Get down, get down’.”
IT worker Tony added: “It just kept going and going. And there was a little break in the fire – presumably they were reloading.
"And Justine said, ‘We’ve got to move now!’.” Tony and Justine crawled on their stomachs and managed to escape on to the roof through a skylight.
Justine said she remembered thinking of her wedding – which was scheduled for March the following year – as they made their way to safety.
She said: “The wedding was one of the things I kept thinking when we were hiding, ‘I’ve got a wedding to go to, no terrorist is going to stop us’.”
While waiting to be helped out of the building, Tony messaged his ex to tell his 11-year-old daughter “I love you”. He said: “That was the point I thought, ‘I’m going to die’.”
They managed to climb into a block of apartments above the Bataclan and while they were being rescued by police they saw several revellers who had been shot dead.
The Bataclan slaughter was one of several Islamic State-inspired attacks across the French capital that night, in which a total 130 people were killed and more than 400 wounded.
Tony and Justine returned home to Leeds the following day and went ahead with their wedding in March 2016.
They returned to Paris briefly in 2016 but now want to draw a line under the experience by finishing their 2015 trip.
They have been supported by Life For Paris, through which they met Zoe Alexander. Her band merchandiser brother Nick, 35, was the only British victim.
Tony said: “We’ve created our own support network now, unless someone was there they can’t fully appreciate it.”
Justine added: “We think of them as family but we would never have met them if not for that day.”
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