Nice terror witness from Edinburgh won’t go to big events again

Avril and Michel Cointe. Picture: PA
Avril and Michel Cointe. Picture: PA
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A retired ecretary from the Capital who lives in Nice has told how she fled from gunfire during Thursday’s terror attack.

Avril Cointe, who moved to the French city 42 years ago when she married her husband, Michel, said they were now wary of being among masses of people.

Eighty-four people, including children, were killed when a truck ploughed along the Promenade des Anglais during Bastille Day celebrations.

Mrs Cointe had been enjoying the fireworks with her husband when they heard gunshots.

She said: “It was getting kind of cold so we walked up to get our scooter to go home and then heard shots.

“We thought it might be bangers but then we saw everyone running.

“I fell over an abandoned pram as we tried to get away down a side street.

“I have never been so terrified in my entire life.”

The 63-year-old said she felt she had to come back to the scene to attend the minute’s silence yesterday in memory of the victims, but would not go to another crowded event again.

“We will never go to another fireworks display, or any crowded event,” she said.

“There is a lot of security here. We had to come, we couldn’t not come.”

She said it was good to see holidaymakers and locals returning to the popular walkway, adding that most were probably still in shock.

She said: “I think they feel they need to come and see it to believe it and try and understand it.

“It’s so sad. And children are among the dead. All for nothing, absolutely nothing.”

Meanwhile, crowds jeered the French prime minister as he joined other officials in Nice to remember victims killed during the lorry rampage on the city’s promenade.

There were angry scenes as boos broke out and people shouted at Manuel Valls when he arrived at the Monument du Centenaire ahead of the minute’s silence.

Families of the dead and injured gathered alongside emergency services, who were applauded and thanked by members of the crowd.

Following the silence, for which thousands of people flocked to the Promenade des Anglais, there was applause and a rendition of the French national anthem as many of those singing defiantly raised their fists in the air.

Mr Valls was booed again as he walked to a nearby garden where flowers were laid in tribute.

Lorry driver Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel was killed by police after his rampage.