‘We didn’t know if the person next to you would shoot you’: Sheffield mother and son witness Paris attacks

A Sheffield mother and son witnessed the Paris terror attacks Photo: Merab Cracknell
A Sheffield mother and son witnessed the Paris terror attacks Photo: Merab Cracknell
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A mother and son from Sheffield on holiday in Paris have described the ‘frightening’ moment they heard gunfire during a terror attack which has left as many 127 people dead.

Merab Cracknell and her son Alex were due to arrive home in Ecclesall last night after witnessing some of the atrocities in the French capital.

A Sheffield mother and son witnessed the Paris terror attacks Photo: Merab Cracknell

A Sheffield mother and son witnessed the Paris terror attacks Photo: Merab Cracknell

The pair heard gunshots as they walked near their hotel, which minutes away from the Bataclan Concert Hall, where one of the multiple terror attacks took place.

A number of Britons are feared to be among the dead following the tragedy.

Islamic State, known as IS, has claimed responsibility for the attacks which also wounded 300 people – around 80 of them critically.

Mrs Cracknell, aged 47, who was in Paris on holiday for a week, said: “We didn’t know if the person next to you could shoot you. It was going on all around us. We were in the middle of multiple incidents.”

A Sheffield mother and son witnessed the Paris terror attacks Photo: Merab Cracknell

A Sheffield mother and son witnessed the Paris terror attacks Photo: Merab Cracknell

Despite the danger, the mother and son stayed near the scene as casualties were taken from the concert hall.

Mrs Cracknell, who took photographs at the scene, said: “It was surreal, we felt like we were in a film.

“It still doesn’t feel real. I don’t think it has really sunk in what we are living through. I am in a state of shock. We were watching ambulances going in and out and taking bodies out.”

She said despite the bloodshed and terror, the whole world seemed to have united to support France.

A Sheffield mother and son witnessed the Paris terror attacks Photo: Merab Cracknell

A Sheffield mother and son witnessed the Paris terror attacks Photo: Merab Cracknell

She said: “Everybody worked together, there was a community feeling and across the world everybody is supporting France. I don’t feel frightened now because of that.”

The family stayed in their hotel the day after the attacks as many tourist attractions and public buildings had been closed .

They took the Eurostar back to the UK yesterday.

A manhunt is under way for possible accomplices of gunmen who targeted the concert hall and the French national football stadium, and sprayed the terraces of bars and restaurants with gunfire in at least six almost simultaneous attacks.

A Sheffield mother and son witnessed the Paris terror attacks Photo: Merab Cracknell

A Sheffield mother and son witnessed the Paris terror attacks Photo: Merab Cracknell

In a message issued in French and Arabic, IS – also known as Isis, Isil and Daesh – said it had targeted ‘the capital of abominations and perversions and those who carry the crusader banner in Europe.’

Sheffield landmarks were among others across the world which were lit up in red, white and blue as a sign of support for France.

Both Sheffield Central Library and the OMG nightclub on West Street paid their respects in this way.