Paris: For Didier the salesman, a humdrum meeting with a client at a printing business on the outskirts of Paris yesterday turned into a run-in with France’s most wanted men as he ‘shook hands’ with one of the magazine massacre suspects.

He told France Inter radio how he came face-to-face with one of the suspects holed up in the small CTD office in Dammartin-en-Goele, about 30 minutes north of the French capital. “When I arrived, my client came out with an armed man who said he was from the police.

My client told me to leave so I left,” Didier said, identifying the man he was to meet with as Michel. “I was in front of the door. I shook Michel’s hand and I shook the hand of one of the terrorists.” Didier said the black-clad man was wearing a bulletproof vest and possibly carrying a Kalashnikov. “‘Leave, we don’t kill civilians anyhow’. That really struck me, so I decided to call the police.

I guess it was one of the terrorists,” he said. Didier added Michel had closed the door behind him. He told the radio station he had not recognised the man initially. “It could have been a policeman if he hadn’t told me ‘we don’t kill civilians’. They were heavily armed, like elite. I didn’t know it was a hostage situation, or a robbery. I just knew something wasn’t quite right,” said Didier.