'Tell my children I love them': the victims of the Nice attack

Kim Willsher in Paris
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Valéry Hache/AFP/Getty</span>
Photograph: Valéry Hache/AFP/Getty

Victims of the Nice terror attack include a father of two who had worked at the Notre-Dame basilica welcoming worshippers and a mother of three from Brazil who had lived in France for decades.

Vincent Loqués, 55, had his throat cut by the alleged attacker – named as 21-year-old Brahim Aouissaoui - and his body was found inside the church.

Loqués was a devout Catholic and had been sexton at the basilica where he prepared the sacraments and altar for the mass for 10 years. His role was also to welcome visitors and worshippers to the basilica when it opened at 8.30am.

Laura Male, a parishioner of the Notre-Dame church, said: “I’m so shocked. I still imagine him, I still see him walking, lighting the candles. And now I’m thinking: ‘He’s not there any more.’”

Her sister, Laura, added: “We’re always with him. He’s always there, he spends the day there. He shares his life here. He’s not someone who comes and goes. This is his home, he’s here all day.”

Brazilian media named another victim as mother of three Simone Barreto Silva. Silva was stabbed several times inside the basilica.

Severely injured, she managed to flee the building before collapsing in a nearby bar. She told those who were treating her: “Tell my children I love them” before dying at the scene.

Silva, originally from Salvador on Brazil’s Atlantic coast, had lived in Paris for 30 years.

“The Brazilian government regretfully announces that one of the fatalities was a 44-year-old Brazilian mother of three children, living in France,” a statement from the foreign ministry said.

It did not confirm whether she also had French nationality.

The third victim has not been named. She was a 60-year-old woman who had gone to the Notre-Dame basilica early Thursday morning to pray when she was brutally attacked inside the church. Police sources said she had her throat deeply cut and the killer appeared “determined to decapitate her”.