Parents of Briton killed in Paris attacks proud to stand 'in unity' at service


The parents of the only Briton to die in the Paris attacks said they were proud to stand "in unity" with other grieving families as they joined mourners and dignitaries at a memorial service in the city.

Barry and Sheelagh Alexander said their lives would be "linked forever" with other people who lost loved ones and they were thankful for the "outpouring of love from around the world" for their 36-year-old son Nick, who was murdered in the Bataclan theatre massacre.

Mr Alexander was selling band merchandise for Eagles of Death Metal when gunmen stormed the building midway through a rock concert on November 13, killing 89 people.

His parents said in statement: "Words cannot express the sadness we feel at the loss of our precious Nick.

"This is just the beginning of a long road where we will have to get used to the absence of his physical presence around us - a physical presence that we loved so much, that made us laugh, that we loved being with, and always held us close wherever he was.

"We will get through this with the love and strength of our beloved family, friends and colleagues, and the support of so many people we have never even met.

"The outpouring of love from around the world has been a great comfort to us and makes us even more proud to have had Nick as our son. We will love and miss him forever.

"We extend our love and condolences to all those who have been affected by this indiscriminate act, and are proud to stand with them in unity at the memorial service on Friday. Our lives are intrinsically linked forever."

Speaking at the memorial service in the courtyard of the Invalides national monument, French president Francois Hollande promised the families of those killed and wounded in the attacks that he will do everything to destroy the "army of fanatics" responsible.

The names and ages of the 130 who died in the attacks, mostly young adults from 18 different countries, were read aloud during the ceremony.

The majority of the deaths were at the gig by American band Eagles of Death Metal, who were on stage when gunmen began firing indiscriminately into the crowd.

In a video interview, the band's singer Jesse Hughes, 43, broke down as he described the heroism and selflessness of the fans and staff caught up in the horror.

Of Mr Alexander, from Colchester, he said: "(Nick) stayed quiet and never called for help until he bled out, because he didn't want anyone else to get hurt."

Ahead of the memorial where he is due to give a 20-minute address, Mr Hollande called on French citizens to come together in solidarity by hanging the Tricolor.

But not all the grieving families said they would attend today's ceremony amid a growing sense of anger that the attacks may and should have been averted.

Emma Prevost, sister of Francois-Xavier Prevost, 29, who died in the Bataclan, suggested a more concerted effort to tackle terrorism in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks could have stopped the killings a fortnight ago.

She wrote on Facebook: "So no thank you Mr President, politicians, your tribute we do not want.

"You were partly responsible for what happened to us. It was earlier that there was a need to act. The attacks in January should have been sufficient."

Meanwhile an inquest into Mr Alexander's death was open and adjourned in Chelmsford.

Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray heard that he died from gunshot wounds to his stomach and chest.

France Pays Tribute to Victims of Paris Terror Attacks