ROSS Parker's girlfriend Nicola Foot has today spoken for the first time about the night the teenager was murdered in a racist attack.
ROSS Parker's girlfriend Nicola Foot has today spoken for the first time about the night the teenager was murdered in a racist attack.ROSS Parker's girlfriend Nicola Foot has today spoken for the first time about the night the teenager was murdered in a racist attack.
Opening her heart to The Evening Telegraph, 20-year-old Nicola has bravely recounted the terrible events of Friday, September 21, 2001.
Nicola was walking hand in hand with Ross as he was attacked by Ahmed Ali Awan (22), Sarfraz Ali (25), and Shaied Nazir (22) on a cyclepath near Bourges Boulevard.
Speaking for the first time since his killers were jailed, Nicola reveals:
>> How Ross had squeezed her hand to reassure her as they were confronted by his murderers.
>> How she fled to get help and heard him scream out as he was attacked.
>> How she fought to save Ross's life as he lay in a pool of blood.
Nicola and 17-year-old Ross, of Bozeat Way, Westwood, Peterborough, had become friends after meeting at The Solstice pub, in Northminster Road, where they both worked.
On the fateful night they were both due to finish work at 2am, but the pub closed early because it had been a quiet evening.
They were due to stay with a friend of Nicola, who lives in Bourges Boulevard, and Nicola suggested they walk there to save money.
It was a warm night and the couple who had been going out for just two months spoke about how they were going to watch a video once they got to Nicola's friend's home.
They strolled along Broadway, before taking a right onto Westgate and then cutting across the Brewery Tap pub car park and on to the cyclepath in Bourges Boulevard.
By this time it was 1.15am and just a few minutes later Ross would be dead.
As they rounded a corner, Nazir was standing beside the cycle path. He then started walking towards a group of youths in front of the couple.
And it was then Nicola heard the chilling words: "Better start running" from someone standing to her right.
She said: "Ross squeezed my hand to reassure me that everything was going to be all right.
"He told me to move out of their way and I kept hold of his hand."
In a quiet voice, Nicola went on: "Just as they got in front of us, one of them sprayed Ross in the face.
"He put his hand to his eyes and then the person who had sprayed him punched him in the stomach.
"That made him double over and then fall over. He pulled his hand away from mine so he could use it to protect himself.
"I was scared but I just couldn't comprehend what was going on, so I just stood there in shock."
Powerless to help and rigid with shock, Nicola stood on the path for what she believes was about 30 seconds before deciding to run for help.
She thought Ross would get a beating never in her darkest nightmares did she think he would be murdered.
Nicola ran to the nearby Esso garage, on Bourges Boulevard, where she saw two men filling their car.
She screamed at them that Ross was getting beaten up by a gang, and one of the men gave her a mobile phone to call police.
She said: "When I was on the phone at the garage I heard Ross cry out a couple of times. It sounded like he was in pain. I knew he had broken his leg twice before and it was quite weak, so I was a bit concerned that he might end up with a broken leg.
"That was the worst I thought might happen."
By chance, she then spotted a police car being driven along Bourges Boulevard by Pc Kate Brown.
Nicola, now frantic with worry, got into the car and led the officer to where she had left Ross.
'It was like a scene from EastEnders'
NICOLA Foot and Pc Kate Brown were faced with an horrific sight when they came across Ross Parker's crumpled body.
Nicola said: "I went running over to him. I was hysterical. You could tell just by looking that he wasn't conscious.
"I checked for a pulse on his neck and couldn't find one, and assumed I was doing it wrong. I leaned over and tried to listen for breathing or feel his breath on my cheek.
"I put my hand on his chest, and that's when I felt the blood on his shirt."
Then, to her horror, she saw Ross had been stabbed in the neck.
Pc Brown tried to drag Nicola away, but she insisted on staying.
She said: "I wanted to stay with him because I still didn't believe completely that he could be dead I hadn't been gone that long."
Nicola finally agreed to leave Ross's side and was led away by police officers, who allowed her to sit down nearby.
She said: "There was a policeman stood with me, and I remember saying to him 'He's dead, isn't he?'. He said he didn't know.
"I was thinking Ross couldn't be dead.
"There were lots of things going through my mind and I was thinking I must tell Leanne (Ross's sister)."
Nicola was taken to Thorpe Wood police station, but she was still hysterical and kept on asking police officers if she could use a telephone to call Leanne Parker.
She said: "Deep down I knew what was happening, but I dealt with it by acting as if it wasn't happening to me. It was like an episode of EastEnders and I was watching it. It was as if it had happened to someone else and not myself."
As detectives arrived, stunned Nicola was taken to Thorpe Wood police station where she was comforted by officers and where several hours later she was told her boyfriend was dead.
>> Tomorrow in our exclusive interview, Nicola Foot reveals her regrets over Ross Parker's death, and how her new love saved her from the depths of despair.