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'Minutes, a split decision not to sit at that first bar, probably saved our lives'

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Shari Butcher and husband Danny had a narrow escape

Shari Butcher and husband Danny had a narrow escape

Shari Butcher and husband Danny had a narrow escape

A Limavady woman has described her terror at being caught up in the Barcelona attack.

Mother-of-three Shari Butcher was in the area with her husband Danny. They had left Las Ramblas just minutes before the terrorist struck.

"Yesterday we ambled up Las Ramblas, just relaxing and stopping to buy souvenirs for our boys back home," she said.

"We were going to stop at a cafe on Las Ramblas but instead crossed the street, the same street the terrorist's van sped into seconds later. We sat down outside another bar for a drink. Then we heard a loud crash. I knew it wasn't a bomb. It sounded like a head-on collision. My husband saw the first few casualties lying on the road at the end of Las Ramblas and thought it was a car accident.

"All I could think of was the London attack and the men with the knives. I thought these people running and screaming have seen someone, maybe someone killing someone with knives. I panicked and I ran down the street. Everyone was panicking.

"The police were running to the scene and blowing whistles, they were forcing the traffic to move faster, they were screaming, there were ambulances. People were being trampled over. I fell and lost my shoe. I ran to our hotel room and slammed the door behind me.

"Our hotel is right beside Las Ramblas. I switched off the lights and just sat in the dark. I haven't been out of the room since. There are cordons all around our hotel. We are going home on Friday. I just want to go home to my boys, my mum, my family."

The Limavady woman says thinking of the hundreds of people she had passed along Las Ramblas just before the attack made her very sad.

"Walking down Las Ramblas yesterday afternoon just before the attack there were so many families, young children, babies in prams, kids holding their mummy and daddy's hands. It's just unthinkable. That makes me so sad. The other thing I noticed was that there were so many armed police around yesterday. They were everywhere, carrying guns. I don't know if they had intelligence or were expecting something to happen, but there were an awful lot of them.

"You don't expect this on holidays at all. We were literally walking up that street, the same as those people who were killed.

"My dad passed away last year and I think he was looking after us today. It's horrific to think on. I have cried tears today because it was as simple as that, minutes, a split decision. If we had have sat down at that first bar, if we had have decided to stay around the shops a little more, that would have changed everything."

Belfast Telegraph