Paris terror attacks: Two British women hid in cellar for three hours to escape Bataclan gunmen

The pair had to listen to gunshots and screaming from the concert hall above until police stormed the building

Doug Bolton
Sunday 15 November 2015 16:59
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People mourn outside a makeshift memorial at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris
People mourn outside a makeshift memorial at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris

Two British women who escaped the killers at Paris's Bataclan concert hall have said they survived the attack by hiding in a cellar.

Christine Tudhope, 35, and Mariesha Payne, 33, both from Scotland, took refuge in the cellar for three hours after the shooting began.

The pair were visiting Paris to celebrate Ms Tudhope's 35th birthday, and were attending the concert with friends.

Speaking to Sky News, Ms Tudhope said her first reaction to the first gunshot was to assume it was part of the show.

As more shots rang out, she said they ducked down and ran towards the nearest exit.

In the chaos they escaped the main concert hall but found themselves in a cellar, and realised they were trapped.

The door later burst open, and the pair thought the attacks had discovered the room - but it was two other concertgoers. The group barricaded the door and turned off the lights.

For the next three hours, they heard all the noises from the hall above them, even hearing the terrorists speaking amongst themselves.

"We weren't sure who they were speaking to, but the two Italian guys spoke French and told us they had said they had hostages and they were speaking to the police," Ms Tadhope told Sky.

Police stormed the building after midnight, killing one gunman. The other two detonated explosives, killing themselves.

"I cannot believe we got out alive. While we were hiding there was a pause in the shots for about 20 minutes but there was a lot of screaming - a witness we spoke to later said people were being tortured and stabbed at that point," she told Scottish paper The Daily Record.

Ms Payne said she was afraid she would never see her children again.

89 people died in the Bataclan theatre on Friday, the majority of the 129 victims of Friday's attacks.

At the time of writing, French authorities are still investigating whether one or two accomplices to the attacks are still on the run, after several rifles were found in an abandoned car believed to have been used by some of the gunmen.

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