Leeds & West Yorkshire

Paris attacks: Leeds couple escaped Bataclan through roof

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Media captionJustine Merton and Tony Scott from Leeds were in the balcony of the Bataclan concert hall when the gunmen opened fire

A couple have talked of escaping through a skylight in the Bataclan's roof while the music venue was under siege during the Paris attacks.

Tony Scott and Justine Merton, from Leeds, were in the balcony when gunmen stormed the Eagles of Death Metal gig.

After using a grate as a ladder to climb to the roof, they hid with several others in a nearby apartment.

Three heavily armed gunmen killed 89 people and critically injured 99 others at the Paris venue on Friday.

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Ms Merton had bought her fiancé birthday tickets for the concert and they had arrived in Paris especially for that on Friday.

The pair, who first met at a rock concert, said they usually watched gigs at floor level but they arrived late and so headed up to the balcony for a good view.

Talking to the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme, Mr Scott said the "insignificant" decision to go upstairs ended up being "the difference between life and death".

'Systematically shooting people'

Ms Merton had recently returned to her seat from the downstairs bar when they heard gunfire. The couple fell to the floor and hid behind the seats.

She said: "They were going round, systematically shooting people. If we had stayed there, all they had to do was come up the stairs and we would be next.

"I can't imagine what they went through down on the floor, lying amongst the bodies."

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Image caption Three gunmen killed 89 people and critically injured 99 others at the Bataclan venue

Mr Scott said: "We were crawling along behind the chairs on our bellies, but there were gaps between the rows of seats so we were exposed."

They reached a door leading to a stairwell, where they were allowed through before it was barricaded shut again.

"The only way out was through a skylight and there were quite a few of us jam-packed into this stairwell," Ms Merton said.

"There was a grate that they had pulled down, with three blokes hoisting people up because it was quite a height up."

'Nothing but love'

After reaching the roof, they were ushered toward a rooftop apartment, where up to 30 people were hiding.

Mr Scott said: "The lights went off and we were in darkness, but we could hear bursts of gunfire.

"We heard three explosions and we were thinking 'is the building going to collapse?'"

His fiancee said: "I was just saying 'you're not getting out of marrying me that easily, we are going home'."

Armed police eventually found them and they were escorted down a ladder and away from the venue.

Mr Scott said: "There's a lot of hate being thrown around, but we just don't feel any of it, we feel nothing but love really.

"We've been through quite a traumatic experience and we're incredibly lucky to be alive."

His fiancee added: "Although we saw the very worst of humanity on Friday, we saw the very best as well - people doing very selfless, courageous things."

The Victoria Derbyshire programme is broadcast on weekdays between 09:15 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News channel.

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