Sudesh Amman’s knife-wielding final moments were all the more dramatic due to the extremely public arena in which they played out.
It was a busy Sunday pre-lockdown afternoon in Streatham, south London when 20-year-old Sudesh Amman grabbed a large kitchen knife from a hardware store and set about stabbing two members of the public at random.
Little over a minute later, he had been shot dead after pivoting to charge at two undercover police officers who had given chase, as horrified members of the public looked on.
The gravity of the situation was borne out in footage compiled from CCTV, public transport, police body-worn cameras and mobile phones belonging to members of the public.
Witness testimony at Amman’s inquest described with vivid detail the 62 seconds between him grabbing the knife and being mortally wounded.
Jagmon Singh, who worked in Low Price Store on Streatham High Road said he thought Amman “looked disturbed” when the convicted jihadi walked into his shop and began browsing the knives before selecting a weapon with which to enact his rampage.
“I thought it was a case of shoplifting,” said an officer known as BX87, one of a dozen police witnesses granted anonymity at the inquest, and who was part of the surveillance effort on the day. A minute later, he opened fire.
Katherine Day said she saw Amman apparently “skipping and hopping” up the street before lunging at targets, including a child.
She and her partner Thomas Baldwin were later commended by one of Amman’s victims for helping save his life after performing initial first aid before medics arrived on the scene.
CCTV footage showed the street to be busy with pedestrians, so much so that nine covert police officers were able to work seemingly undetected by Amman.
Just 20 seconds before Amman burst out of the Low Price Store, and slightly ahead of his first casualty, a woman with a small child and a pushchair could be seen heading northwards along Streatham High Road.
Further along the street at Holland and Barrett internal CCTV showed two young children standing at the shop entrance as Amman sprinted past with the knife clasped in his hand.
Four women were then seen scrambling into a Boots store on Streatham High Road. Two seconds later, he was dead.
BX87 broke down as he recalled fearing he was about to become Amman’s latest victim.
“(It) was like a cartoon – the blade of the knife almost doubled in size,” he said.
“It really dawned on me at this point that I was going to get stabbed.”
Pedestrian Fida Hussain said the shooting appeared to be “some sort of prank that you see on YouTube or something”.
Indeed, Mr Hussain was not the only one initially failing to fully grasp the gravity of the situation, with CCTV footage showing an elderly woman resolutely trying to cross the road on the pavement across from Amman’s body, despite two armed police shouting at her to stay back.