London Bridge victims courageously attempted to fight off attackers armed with knives

Will Metcalfe
Contributor
Khuram Shazad Butt, left, Rachid Redouane, centre and Youssef Zaghba who carried out the 2017 attack at London Bridge. (Metropolitan Police via AP)

The courageous victims of the London Bridge terror attack attempted to fight off a gang of armed killers.

An inquest into the death of eight victims was show footage of Roy Larner, dubbed the Lion of London Bridge, being savagely stabbed in the stomach by the attackers.

Yet despite being stabbed Mr Larner bravely fought back and yesterday the Old Bailey heard how Ignacio Echeverria attacked Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba with his skateboard after stumbling upon the scene.

Butt, 27, was later caught on CCTV cameras cleaning his 12-in pink ceramic knife inside Black and Blue restaurant while Youssef Zaghba, 22, took a drink from the tap behind the bar.

The victims of the London Bridge terrorist attack (top row left to right) Canadian Christine Archibald, James McMullan, Alexandre Pigeard, French chef Sebastien Belanger, (bottom row left to right) Australian nurse Kirsty Boden, Australian Sara Zelenak, Xavier Thomas and Spanish banker Ignacio Echeverria.

Mr Larner appeared not to react as the knife was plunged into him twice in quick succession before he stood up and ran away.

Jonathan Hough QC, counsel for the coroner, had warned the families of the victims in court that "distressing images" would be shown, and Butt's reaction was "the most chilling".

Earlier, the third attacker, Rachid Redouane, 30, was shown on CCTV bending down to tie his shoelaces in the street during the rampage through Borough Market.

In another extract from CCTV, Redouane was seen talking to an unidentified man, and then walking away without attacking him for an unknown reason.

Mr Hough said: "There is clearly some form of discussions. We don't know what was said. Despite appeals for witnesses he never came forward."

The knife used by Butt during the horrific attack which saw eight people killed in 10 minutes. (Metropolitan Police London via AP)

In the space of three minutes, the attackers had struck Xavier Thomas, 45, and Christine Archibald, 30, with a van on the bridge then fatally stabbed Alexandre Pigeard, 26, Sara Zelenak, 21, Kirsty Boden, 28, Sebastien Belanger, 36, James McMullan, 32, and Ignacio Echeverria, 39, around Borough Market.

Within 10 minutes, the attackers, who injured 48 more people, had been shot dead by police marksmen.

In the CCTV, pedestrians were seen running for their lives as the terrorists' van mounted the pavement on the bridge.

People were struck and thrown in the air as the van took an erratic course, before crashing into railings.

The van used in the London Bridge attacks of Saturday June 3 2017. (Metropolitan Police London via AP)

Mobile phone video captured the panic and terror among the Saturday night revellers when confronted by the knifemen shouting "Allahu Akbar".

Erick Siguenza, who filmed the footage, was heard to exclaim: "That's terrorists. That's mad," over screams and shouts in the background.

Other members of the public appeared to stand up to the attackers, with one throwing a chair at Butt outside another restaurant.

The last victim, Mr Echeverria, was seen in footage swinging his skateboard at the knife-waving attackers as he ran in to help two unarmed officers.

Mr Echeverria had been cycling with two friends when he came across unarmed police constables Wayne Marques and Charlie Guenigault.

Mark and Julie Wallace, the parents of Sara Zelenak, 21, one of the victims of the London Bridge terrorist attack, arrive at the Old Bailey ahead of the inquests into the deaths of the eight people killed in the attacks on London Bridge and in Borough Market, and the inquests into the deaths of the three attackers.
Simon and Mila McMullan (centre) the parents of James McMullan, 32, one of the victims of the London Bridge terrorist attack, queue at the Old Bailey ahead of the inquests into the deaths of the eight people killed in the attacks on London Bridge and in Borough Market, and the inquests into the deaths of the three attackers.

The HSBC financial crime analyst ran across to help and swung his board at one of the terrorists but was knocked to the ground by Redouane, the inquest was told.

Detective Superintendent Rebecca Riggs said: "Ignacio got off his bike and ran across to where the two officers were to assist the two officers.

"He had taken his board from his rucksack and swung at the attackers and managed to hit them. Redouane retaliated, causing him to fall on the ground. The attackers then set upon him on the ground."

Mr Hough said: "It was a brief but furious assault."

(Left to right) PD Marci with handler PC Neil Billany, PD Kai with handler PC Jean Pearce, PD Bruno with handler Rob Smith, PD Delta with handler PC Mark Snoxhall, PDSA vet Rosamund Ford, PD Dave with handler PC Andy Salter and PD Jax with handler PC Craig Howarth at Borough market in London where the dogs were honoured with the PDSA Order of Merit for helping emergency services during the 2017 London terror attacks at Westminster Bridge, London Bridge and Borough Market.

The onslaught came to an end when the attackers, wearing mock suicide belts, were shot by City of London Police marksmen.

Neil McLelland, who was looking out of the window of the nearby Wheatsheaf pub, was hit in the head by a bullet and fell to the ground, while five other people were injured by shrapnel.

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Other armed officers arrived on the scene but withdrew believing the attackers were wearing improvised explosive devices, Det Supt Riggs told the inquest.

She added: "They could see that the attackers were still moving. They believed they were going to activate the explosive devices they were wearing and they fired a number of shots."

Mr Hough said the officers then put "themselves in harm's way" to evacuate the pub, taking Mr McLelland, who survived his injuries, and others to safety.

Det Supt Riggs told how officers pieced together the evidence and in the hunt for any potential accomplices, 22 people were arrested but none were charged with involvement in the terror attack.

The senior investigator said more than 1,500 officers were deployed from British Transport Police, City of London and Scotland Yard.

There were 6,100 exhibits, more than 10,000 documents, 2,800 statements and 9,500 hours of CCTV.

Officers also searched 23 addresses and 10 vehicles, the court heard.

Det Supt Riggs said: "It has been meticulous work by the officers."

Jonathan Hough QC, for the coroner, said: "So, an investigation of enormous scale and scope?"

The officer replied: "Yes sir, like nothing I have ever known before in my entire career."