A hero shot three times in a terror attack today tells how he feels cursed after flash floods delivered another crushing blow.
Mat James was shot three times when a gunman went on the rampage in Port El Kantaoui, Tunisia, killing 38 – including 30 Britons.
Mat, 35, threw himself on top of his partner Saera to save her life in the beach bloodbath in June 2015.
After that fateful day the couple slowly rebuilt their lives, got married and Mat set up a gas engineering company in Pontypridd, South Wales.
But he was scammed out of his honeymoon accommodation and now bad luck has struck again after the River Taff burst its banks – wrecking his van and electric tools worth thousands.
Insurance doesn’t cover the replacement cost of specialist equipment.
Dad-of-two Mat said: “It’s like we’re cursed with bad luck. The van is a write-off and the electric tools are wrecked.
“It’s devastating. We’re self employed and now we’re struggling to make ends meet.”
The couple have set up a GoFundMe page in a bid to raise £3,000 to re-establish the business.
Mat added: “We don’t want people to think we’re after handouts, we just need enough for a deposit on a van and some second-hand tools. We can replace things as we go along, we just need a kickstart to help us out.”
Mat and Saera, 31, have endured a run of bad luck since Seifeddine Rezgui went on the rampage at the Imperial Hotel.
They wed two years after the attack but even their Florida honeymoon was marred after they fell victim to a scam.
They arrived in Kissimmee to find they were locked out of the villa they had paid for – and had to fork out £1,000 for alternative accommodation.
Then last year, on holiday in Malta, Mat tripped in a shopping arcade and broke his foot.
Saera said: “I’ve never seen Mat so low, we’ve lost everything. The floods have hit us hard, he’s lost all his equipment and the van has been towed away.
“We both work for the company – I do the admin – but if Mat can’t work, we’ll struggle.
“The tools were worth around £5,000. We also need a deposit for a new van. He’s having to use my car to get around.”
Saera said Mat was still in pain after being shot three times in the chest and stomach in Tunisia.
She said: “We still have to live with it every day, it’s agony for him. But he wants to get out and work, to provide for his family – he doesn’t want to sit at home claiming benefits. He doesn’t deserve all this bad luck.”
Speaking about the hotel shooting, Mat – 5ft 8in, 16st and a former rugby prop forward – told how he was rubbing sun cream on Saera’s back when the bullets started to fly.
He said: “I remember grabbing Saera, turning her around and falling on top of her.
"That’s when I was shot. It didn’t hurt at first. It was a strange feeling and I said to Saera, ‘Jesus, I have been shot’.
“I put my hand down on my stomach and could feel the pain and see the blood over my shirt. I was angry and panicking.
“I was lying facing Saera under the sunbed. I said, ‘Babe, babe, I’m going to die’. That’s when I told her to tell the kids I loved them.”
Mat also recalled the haunting face of Islamic State killer Rezgui, 23.
He added: “After I was hit I blacked out for a second but when I came round, I could see him.
“There was no emotion in his face. He looked like a postman going about his business, but instead of delivering letters he was strolling along shooting people.”
- To help, visit the GoFundMe page
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