Home Secretary praises South Shields man’s bravery during Paris attacks

Michael O'Connor
Michael O'Connor

The Home Secretary has praised a South Shields man who lay on top of his girlfriend to protect her during the massacre at a Paris concert venue.

Theresa May said Michael O’Connor’s “presence of mind” was “considerable” as he ensured both he and his partner survived the “unimaginable” attack.

In the aftermath of the terror attack, Mr O’Connor told how a gunman fired indiscriminately into the crowd watching the Eagles Of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan.

He described the scene as a “slaughterhouse” and lay on top of his girlfriend to try to protect her as people played dead to avoid attracting the attention of the gunmen.

Speaking in the Commons, South Shields Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck told Mrs May: “Michael O’Connor, from South Shields, lay on top of his girlfriend in the Bataclan.

“As shots fired around him and bodies fell they lay their still, pretending to be dead.

“Michael’s actions saved both of their lives and I’m sure the Home Secretary will join me in commending Michael’s brave actions.”

She questioned if British citizens temporarily living in France following the attacks would be supported by the UK Government, including Mr O’Connor.

Mrs May replied: “Can I first of all join you in commending Michael O’Connor for the action that he took.

“It’s unimaginable to have been in that situation with the shots around and so many people being killed and the presence of mind he showed was considerable and, as you have said, saved two lives.

“I can confirm to you that the support that is available to British nationals who have been caught up in this does extend to those who are temporarily resident in France.”