This trial of 20 men accused of involvement in the terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of 130 people in Paris on November 13, 2015 was always going to be difficult for the families of those killed or injured. The continuous succession of expert police witnesses, describing the scene in each of the Parisian places targeted by the killers, supplemented by video and photographic evidence, borders on unbearable.
The story begins at the Stade de France. The description of the remains of the first suicide bomber, in front of entrance D, sounds like an anatomy lesson.
“Back part of the missing corpse, left leg, left arm torn off. Bone fragments found 25 meters away, a hand, a finger … “
Manuel Colaço Dias, the first victim of the attacks, was hit by hail of screws contained in the explosive vest. One of them punctured his lung, causing his death.
The other two terrorists present on the sports site only killed themselves.
A lawyer asks him if he can question Salah Abdeslam, one of the 20 defendants and the man who drove the three suicide bombers to the Stade de France. The request is denied. The time to question the suspects will come later.
“Not a crime scene, a war zone”
The terrorists who attacked the terraces of the Petit Cambodge restaurant and the Carillon bar in central Paris fired a total of 121 times with their Kalashnikovs in two and a half minutes. Eleven people died in the street, two inside the restaurant.
The names and ages of the victims were read out in court, while a diagram with 11 shadows was displayed, indicating where the bodies had fallen.
The police witness, who testifies anonymously for security reasons, arrived at the scene at 11:00 p.m., less than two hours after the killers. He started the identification business, checking wallets, papers.
He made a mistake by associating a fallen purse with a victim. The owner of the bag was indeed one of the escapees. “I made a mistake. I’m sorry. Once again I ask the families to forgive me.
“I will never forget those who died.”
One victim was shot 36 times, another suffered 22 wounds, a third 14. “It wasn’t a crime scene, it was like something out of a war.”
The sound of phones ringing unnecessarily
Another police investigator took up the chilling tale, describing the scenes at La Bonne Bière and Casa Nostra, a few hundred yards away.
Five people lost their lives, eight were seriously injured. Video evidence suggests one of the killers’ guns jammed, forcing them to move on.
The witness said he would never forget the sound of dropped cell phones ringing unnecessarily. “I wanted to pick up and answer,” he said.
The hearing continues with investigators’ reports on the Bataclan concert hall, where 90 people lost their lives.