Young couple from Hemel Hempstead witness the Barcelona attack while on holiday

Caricature of Jodie and Jack before the Barcelona attack.
Caricature of Jodie and Jack before the Barcelona attack.

A young couple on holiday in Spain found themselves amidst the horror of the Barcelona terror attack on August 17.

Jodie Hardcastle and Jack Parrington, both 21, had just had their caricature done on Las Ramblas when they began to run for their lives.

Jodie said: “I just heard louds of screaming and really loud bangs as if they were gun shots.

“My boyfriend saw the van coming towards us and just told me to run. We didn’t know where we were going, we just kept running until we couldn’t hear any more screaming.”

Jodie and Jack ran to safety down a side street, only to find that no one around them had yet heard what had happened.

She said: “Everyone was going about their day-to-day life in the streets.

“They were sat drinking and talking and were looking at us because we were distressed.

“It was really strange and surreal that we were in the middle of it all.”

On their way back to their accommodation, the couple passed by a restaurant that was showing the news.

Jodie said: “People were crowded around the television and it just reminded me of the Twin Towers.

“I was still a bit numb. It’s different hearing about things on the news but being there, it’s a bizarre feeling.

“It didn’t really hit me until we were walking home. I heard ambulances and I realised people have been killed.”

Jodie and her boyfriend were staying in Barcelona for one more day after the attack.

She said: “I said to Jack in the morning, this is going to be the safest place in the world today and I came on holiday to have fun and enjoy myself.

“We went down to Las Ramblas about 11 o’clock and there were already memorials on the street.

“The atmosphere was just insane. Spanish people were walking and applauding and shouting ‘we love Barcelona’ and ‘we won’t be afraid’.”

Jodie says she stills feels guilty as a survivor and the experience has changed her.

She said: “I am conflicted because I feel lucky to be unhurt but broken by someone who can do that. I realise that life is too short to waste on things that don’t matter.”