The heroic British father who is believed to have cradled an Australian boy as he lay dying on Las Ramblas after the Barcelona terror attack has called on the ‘common man’ to fight terror.
Harry Athwal, from Birmingham, had been dining in a restaurant on a balcony in the Spanish city when a van was driven into a crowd of tourists last week, killing 15.
He immediately rushed to the aid of a little boy, believed to be seven-year-old Julian Cadman.
The 44-year-old father was seen comforting the youngster, whose mother was also injured and remains hospitalised, in heartbreaking pictures.
In emotional interviews, Mr Athwal – who has an eight-year-old son – said he had no choice but to go to help the little boy – and urged viewers to take a stand against terrorism.
Harry Athwal (left) rushed to the aid of a little boy, believed to be seven-year-old Julian Cadman (right), after the Barcelona attack
‘I could see bodies strewn to the left and right and in the middle of Las Ramblas was the body of a child, I knew what I had to do, I just raced to that child,’ he told Nine News.
‘The first thing I tried to do was check his pulse to see if she was alive and he had no pulse and I kept my hand there.
‘I tried to talk to him, I said a little prayer.’
Police had ordered everyone, including Mr Athwal, to leave Las Ramblas after the attack – but he refused to leave the boy.
But despite his bravery, Mr Athwal insisted he’s not a hero, but just a ‘common man, same as anybody else.’
Harry Athwal, from Birmingham, was pictured comforting the child after a van plowed into crowds in Barcelona’s busy tourist district
Speaking to Good Morning Britain, Mr Athwal, a project manager, said he had known straight away that a terrorist attack had taken place.
He said: ‘You hear this screaming, thuds and thunder, you were just trying to think ”what I have I just seen?”
‘Straight away I knew it was a terrorist attack. I didn’t know what to do but I knew I had to do something.’
Mr Athwal explained that when he saw the little boy lying on the pavement, it reminded him of his son and he felt the need to rush to his side.
He added: ‘When I saw that child, I was instantly drawn to that child. He was quite badly injured, I checked for a pulse and he didn’t have a pulse.
‘I put a hand on his back and he wasn’t breathing, so all I could do was sit with him and stroke his back until the police came.’
During an emotional interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today, Barcelona hero Harry Athwal urged viewers to take a stand against terrorism
He stayed with the young boy until emergency services came.
Mr Athwal added: ‘I was panicking, the police were screaming at me to get out of the road in case of another van, but I was not going to leave this boy here.
‘I have a son the same age, and that was what was going through my head.’
He added: ‘We’re fighting a different enemy now, they’re using every day things like cars, they’re killing our children.
‘You have to do something, it’s not about your safety it’s about someone else’s. The common man is the person who can now do something about this.
‘We’ve got to change, we’ve got to do something. The common man has to wake up we can’t walk around with blindfolds anymore. We’ve got to protect our loved ones.’
Mr Athwal explained he felt ‘drawn’ to the little boy after spotting him lying on the pavement
Mr Athwal also revealed that just a week before the shocking incident, he had discussed with his son what he’d do in the event of a terror attack.
He also said the scenes on Las Ramblas would stay with him until his ‘dying day.’
Julian, a pupil at St Bernadette’s Primary School in Sydney’s Lalor Park, was the youngest of the 15 people killed in last Thursday’s attack.
More than 120 others wounded in Barcelona and in another incident in the nearby town of Cambrils.
The boy, a dual citizen of Australia and Britain, and his mother, Jom Cadman, were in Barcelona for a family wedding and enjoying the sights when a van sped down the Las Ramblas promenade targeting pedestrians.
Julian, a pupil at St Bernadette’s Primary School in Sydney’s Lalor Park, was the youngest of the 15 people killed in last Thursday’s attack
His mother, a 43-year-old from the Philippines who had been living in Australia, is still in hospital after being seriously injured in the attack.
On Friday, Julian’s grandfather had posted an appeal on Facebook with Julian’s photo asking for help finding him.
‘He was so energetic, funny and cheeky, always bringing a smile to our faces,’ the child’s family said in a statement released by the Australian department for foreign affairs after his death was announced on Sunday.
The family statement extended sympathy to others coping with losses and thanked all those who helped search for Julian, saying ‘Your kindness was incredible during a difficult time.’
‘We are so blessed to have had him in our lives and will remember his smiles and hold his memory dear to our hearts.’