Tunisia hotel attack: Man who was shot three times while protecting fiancée arrives home

Mathew James was shot in the shoulder, chest and hip by gunman Seifeddine Rezgui during his deadly attack

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The Independent Online

A man who was shot three times as he fought to protect his fiancée during the terror attack in Tunisia has returned home.

Mathew James, a gas-fitter from Trehafod, Pontypridd, south Wales, was shot in the shoulder, chest and hip when Seifeddine Rezgui opened fire on tourists at a beach in Sousse, killing 38 people in the terrorist attack.

He had been attempting to shield his fiancée Saera Wilson by throwing himself in front of her when the shooting began. He was later taken to hospital.

Wilson had told the BBC that James “took a bullet for me” and that she owed him her life. “He was covered in blood from the shots, but he just told me to run away,” she said.


James’ mother, Kathryn Matthews, has since said it was “the most fantastic feeling” to see Wilson step off the plane while her son was carried off on a stretcher.

She wrote a message to friends on Facebook updating people on her son, who she terms “Sas,” and who she said had held the hand of an older man who had been shot on the beach while he died.

“Sas and Saera are back on home turf and safe,” she wrote. “He’s in good spirits and is getting the very best of care.

“It was the most fantastic feeling seeing Saera step off the plane and Sas stretchered off… [they are] back where they belong.

“So proud of him, after being the first to be shot and making sure Saera got to safety, he held the hand of an elderly gent who lay dying next to him, totally overwhelmed by it all,” she said.

James’ mother said he was looking forward to being reunited with his two children, Tegan, six, and 14-month-old Kaden, who had been at home with family while James and Wilson had travelled to Tunisia for a two-week break.

A donation had been set up for James by stranger Ian Spedding, 53, from Burnley, who is also a gas-fitter. He said he and colleagues had set up the fund knowing that James would be out of work and in need of help after the attack. It has raised more than £10,000 in less than 24 hours.