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Tunisia hotel attack: My fiancé took 3 bullets for me and said 'tell our children daddy loves them'

By Mirror | Jun 28th 2015 | 5 min read

Hero Brit Matthew James acted as a human shield to save Sarah Wilson amid the horror of the ISIS beach attack which killed 37.

A hero Brit was shot repeatedly as he shielded his fiancée from an evil IS gunman on a Tunisian beach.

Matthew James, 30, told Sarah Wilson, 26: “I love you babe. But just go.”

Survivor Sarah told how her brave fiancé saved her from the terror which killed 37.

As at least one gunman opened fire with a Kalashnikov, she and Matthew were lying on sunbeds like hundreds of others.

Seconds later, as up to 13 fellow Brits lay dying, she said he was hit by a bullet and blood started pouring out from him.

She said: “I was screaming and it was chaos as more shots were coming out.”

"He just told me to run away. He said: ‘I love you babe. But just go – tell our children that their daddy loves them.’”

She managed to escape after Matthew shielded her, taking a bullet in the hip, one in the chest and one in the pelvis.

Sarah fled back to the hotel, hid from the full horror of the terrorist massacre, and later hunted for Matthew for two hours, even looking under sheets in makeshift hotel morgues.

As she feared for the worst, someone passed a phone to her and said: “I have a very grumpy man on the phone who won’t do anything until he has spoken to you.”

Sarah added: “It was Matthew and that was the first time I knew he was alive.”

Another 36, mostly westerners, were hurt in the slaughter at the popular resort of Sousse.

A gunman, posing as a swimmer, used a beach umbrella to hide his Kalashnikov before starting the slaughter. One hotel owner said a speedboat and a jetski were used to get him ashore.

Zohra Driss, owner of the Marhaba Imperial Hotel where the massacre took place, said the gunman had started firing from the beach before moving to the hotel swimming pool.

Police were still investigating tonight but reports claimed he had been killed in a shoot-out there.

Another report said a second alleged gunman was arrested and still being questioned.

He was attacked by furious locals as he was led away.

One Tunisian eyewitness said the gunman at the hotel was ­deliberately allowing locals to leave and targeting Westerners.

He said: “He was choosing who to shoot. Some, he was saying to them, ‘You go away’. He was choosing tourists, British, French.


“He was laughing and joking around, like a normal guy.”

At least five Britons were officially confirmed dead.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said because the resort is popular with holidaymakers from the UK “we have to assume that a high proportion of those killed and injured will have been British”.

He was speaking after chairing a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee and talks with tour operators.

He said: “The situation on the ground is still somewhat confused and we can’t be sure exactly how many, but because of the nature of the ­composition of the tourist population in this part of Tunisia.

“I should warn we must expect there will be more reports of fatalities as we establish the detail on the ground.”

Speaking from hospital in Tunisia, where Matthew had had a lifesaving operation, Sarah, added: “I only saw the one man in dark clothing but people were being shot.

"Matthew put himself in front of me then he was hit, he moved and the man shot him again. Again he tried to move and he was shot again.

“We were down on the floor next to the sunbeds to shelter but the shots just kept on coming. I owe him my life.

“It was the bravest thing I’ve ever known. But I just had to leave him under the sunbed because the shooting just kept on coming.”

Engaged couple Sarah and Matthew, from Pontypridd, South Wales, had left their two children Tegan, six, and Kaden, 14 months at home with their family when they jetted out to Sousse on June 21 for a two-week break.

Describing the carnage, Sarah added: “I ran back, past bodies on the beach to reach our hotel. It was chaos – there was a body in the hotel pool and it was just full of blood.

“You just can’t explain how terrible it was. It was chaos with screaming and gunshots.”

“After getting back to the hotel, I hid in a towel cupboard to make sure I was safe. It was dark and I could hear people walking around – it was terrifying.

“But eventually it became quieter and I came out.

“I was desperate to find out what had happened to Matthew but no-one was around to help. It was so badly organized with no-one to help and hardly anyone speaking English.

“I didn’t know if he was dead or alive. I was even looking under white sheets to see if it was his body. I’ve been to the hospital intensive care and I’m just staying here on a chair now.

"His pelvis was shattered by the bullet and he also had a heart attack.

“But he is alive. I’m just praying we can get out of here as soon as we can.

“We are due to get married in the summer of 2017. We will be the luckiest people alive because we have witnessed what nobody should ever see.”

The incident came on the same day as further ISIS linked attacks in France, Kuwait and Syria.

The UK Foreign Office said the British embassy in Tunis was sending a crisis team to the area.

At home, police are putting in place additional security measures for events this weekend, including Armed Forces Day and Pride London.

Tunisian government sources denied reports nationals under 35 had been banned from leaving the country - but admitted port and airport controls had been strengthened.

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