37 tourists have been killed in the attack on a Tunisian hotel. This heroic man made sure that his fiancée wasn’t one of them, by turning himself into a human shield to protect her, taking three bullets in the process.
Matthew James, 30, was on holiday with his 26 year old wife to be, Sarah Wilson, when the nightmare incident unfolded.
He took bullets in his shoulder, chest and hip, as terrorists fired at tourists on the Tunisian beach.
Matthew is now in hospital, recovering from his injuries, a shattered pelvis, and a heart attack.
Sarah spoke about the incident:
He took a bullet for me. I owe him my life because he threw himself in front of me when the shooting started.
He was covered in blood from the shots but he just told me to run away.
He told me: ‘I love you babe. But just go – tell our children that their daddy loves them.’
It was the bravest thing I’ve ever known. But I just had to leave him under the sunbed because the shooting just kept on coming.
I ran back, past bodies on the beach to reach our hotel. It was chaos – there was a body in the hotel pool and it was just full of blood.
You just can’t explain how terrible it was. It was chaos with screaming and gunshots.
I’m just so glad Matthew is alive because so many other people are dead.
The engaged couple are from Pontypridd, South Wales, and had left their two children at home with their family when they went to Tunisia for their two week holiday.
Sarah explains what happened at the beach:
We were just on the sunbeds, messing around and having a nice time when we heard these sounds.
The shooting had started and there was a man with a gun opening fire all around.
It is hard to remember just exactly what was going on.
I only saw the one man in dark clothing but people were being shot.
Matthew put himself in front of me then he was hit, he moved and the man shot him again.
Again he tried to move and he was shot again.
He was shouting and blood was pouring out all over. I was screaming and it was chaos as more shots were coming out.
We were down on the floor next to the sunbeds to shelter but the shots just kept on coming. He just told me to go, to look after our kids and that he loved me.
I had to go and made it back to the hotel. I hid in a towel cupboard to make sure I was safe. It was dark and I could hear people walking around – it was terrifying. But eventually it became quieter and I came out.
I was desperate to find out what had happened to Matthew but no-one was around to help.
It was so badly organised with no-one to help and hardly anyone speaking English. “I didn’t know if he was dead or alive.
I was even looking under white sheets to see if it was his body.
It doesn’t bare thinking about. The panic of not knowing what had happaened to her fiance must have been unbearable. She kept looking.
I kept on speaking to people and after about two hours somebody handed me a phone to say:
“I have a very grumpy man on the phone who won’t do anything until he has spoken to you.”
It was Matthew and that was the first time I knew he was alive. He just told me he loved me and that he has had an operation to save his life.
I’ve been to the hospital intensive care and I’m just staying here on a chair now.
His pelvis was shattered by the bullet and he also had a heart attack. But he is alive. I’m just praying we can get out of here as soon as we can.
We just want to get home. I know just how lucky we are to be alive because I can see all the bodies of the people who are not. There are bodies everywhere, some covered in blankets and some not. You can’t imagine how bad it is.
We are due to get married in the summer of 2017.
We will be the luckiest people alive because we have witnessed what no-one ever should see. Ever.
The attack is horrific, and our condolences go out to everybody affected by it.
Our hats also go off to Matthew James. A genuine heroic act to save the love of his life. Top, top man.