The British ex-partner, who was killed in the Bataclan atrocity, has told how the recent wave of Islamic terrorist attacks in France forced her to “relive the trauma”.
Helen Wilson, 54, nearly died when she was shot in both legs during the Paris massacre five years ago today – and cradled 35-year-old Nick Alexander when he died.
Their two-year relationship ended in 2006, but they stayed close and she was with Nick the night before the attack.
She said, “I said you are the love of my life, he said the same thing. The next day he died in my arms.”
Nick, a roadie from Colchester, Essex, was the only British among the 89 killed while the Eagles of Death Metal performed at the venue.
France has recently been hit by attacks, including the beheading of the teacher Samuel Paty in Paris and a triple murder in a church in Nice.
Paris-born American Helen who lives in Paris said: “They happen here again and again. I’m reliving the trauma and the event as it happened yesterday. I’m afraid. I have terrible nightmares. “
But she refuses to go and says: “I lived here for 20 years, the love of my life died here. I’ve changed my behavior [cope]. I don’t use public transport. I went to concerts, but stood near the exit. “
Helen said the five-year anniversary of Nick’s death would be “as difficult as the first”.
And the moment the killers opened fire still haunts them. She said, “Nick saved my life. He took the bullets meant for me. “
Helen “lost everything” after the horror when her catering company collapsed and she experienced pain and mobility problems from her injuries and PTSD.
Contact with Nick’s family and other survivors helped – and she is now working with the Association of Victims of Terrorism.
She said, “I’ll talk about how I can go on living after something like this. About peace, love and a positive future.”