Father describes the tragic fate of the 131st victim of the November 2015 massacres
One hundred and thirty people were killed on the night of 13 November 2015, or died shortly afterwards from their injuries. But there was one other victim, who escaped physically unhurt, only to take his own life two years after the events. His father and brother testified before the special criminal court in Paris on Tuesday.
"My son hated violence," the court was told. "He loved life intensely, but he was overpowered by post-traumatic stress. It is recognised that extreme violence can cause such severe psychological injury that the victim can be driven to suicide."
On the night of 13 November 2015, the young man was in the middle of the crowd on the main floor of the Bataclan. Knocked over in the first wave of panic, he found himself transfixed and trembling at the sight of a dead girl. Another survivor attempted to calm him as they lay side-by-side.
"If that person is still alive, we want to thank her for her gesture of kindness to our child, in all the chaos."
The son began to scramble over bodies. He once buried his head under a pile of dead people in a desperate effort to protect himself. He finally found refuge in a tiny storeroom with a handful of other survivors.
"They were there for two hours," the father explained, "and they heard everything.
"What haunted my son was the cries of the injured . . ." He repeatedly said he could not forget the sound of automatic gunfire.
Life after the Bataclan
In the wake of the attacks, the young man told his parents that his life "before the Bataclan" was over. He lapsed into deep depression, was put on long-term sick leave, showed symptoms of delirious hypochondria.
Guilt, nightmares, anxiety attacks came to dominate his existence.
He became convinced that he had a fatal disease. He met medical specialists. Their opinions were all identical: he was in perfect physical health.
"He was convinced that he had cancer. There was nothing we could do," said the father.
The son was admitted to a psychiatric clinic in the summer of 2017. He was found hanged in his room six days after the second anniversary of the Paris attacks.
"He was the 131st victim of the Bataclan," his brother told the court on Tuesday.. "For us, that figure is important."
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