'Words cannot express the sadness we feel' - parents of Paris attack victim Nick Alexander break silence ahead of memorial service
The parents of Nick Alexander, who died in the Paris attacks, today said "words cannot express the sadness we feel at the loss of our precious Nick" as they prepared to attend a memorial service in the city.
Barry and Sheelagh Alexander said they were thankful for the "outpouring of love from around the world" for their 36-year-old son, who was murdered in the Bataclan theatre massacre.
The merchandise seller was one of 89 people killed when gunmen stormed the building midway through a rock concert.
His parents said in statement: "Words cannot express the sadness we feel at the loss of our precious Nick.
"This is just the beginning of a long road where we will have to get used to the absence of his physical presence around us - a physical presence that we loved so much, that made us laugh, that we loved being with, and always held us close wherever he was.
"We will get through this with the love and strength of our beloved family, friends and colleagues, and the support of so many people we have never even met.
"The outpouring of love from around the world has been a great comfort to us and makes us even more proud to have had Nick as our son. We will love and miss him forever."
French president Francois Hollande is due to speak later at a memorial ceremony for up to 1,000 family members of those lost in November 13's attacks.
He is understood to be returning from talks with Russian president Vladimir Putin on a shared strategy to defeat Isis.
Some of those injured in the atrocities that claimed 130 lives are also expected to attend the service, to be held at Les Invalides, where Mr Hollande is due to lead a minute's silence and the victims' names will be read out.
The majority of the deaths were at a gig by American band Eagles of Death Metal, who were on stage when a commando of Islamist gunmen began firing indiscriminately into the crowd.
In a video interview with Vice News, singer Jesse Hughes, 43, broke down as he described the heroism and selflessness of the fans and staff caught up in the horror.
Of Mr Alexander, from Colchester, he said: "(Nick) stayed quiet and never called for help until he bled out, because he didn't want anyone else to get hurt."
Ahead of the memorial where he is due to give a 20-minute address, Mr Hollande called on French citizens to come together in solidarity by hanging the Tricolor.
However, among some of the grieving families, there is a growing sense of anger that the attacks may and should have been averted.
At least one family has called for a boycott of the memorial, suggesting a more concerted effort to tackle terrorism in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks could have stopped the killings a fortnight ago.
Concerns have also been raised over alleged failures by French authorities to monitor those going to and returning from Syria.
Emma Prevost, sister of Francois-Xavier who died in the Bataclan, wrote on Facebook: "So no thank you Mr President, politicians, your tribute we do not want.
"You were partly responsible for what happened to us. It was earlier that there was a need to act. The attacks in January should have been sufficient."