London Bridge terror attack: Hero police officer took on three terrorists armed only with baton
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE LONDON BRIDGE ATTACK:
Police have arrested 12 people in Barking in connection with incident
Theresa May: ‘Enough is enough’; warns UK faces ‘new trend of copycat terror’
PM confirms general election will still go ahead
One minute’s silence to be held around Britain at 11am on Tuesd
Three men crashed van outside pub off London Bridge at 10pm on Saturday
Men ran towards Borough Market, stabbing ‘indiscriminately’ and leaving 7 dead
Three suspects were shot dead by police, who responded within eight minutes
Armed officers fired “unprecedented” 50 bullets to kill attackers
Another 48 people are injured, many with ‘serious or life-threatening injuries’
Trio were wearing fake suicide vests to ‘spread panic and fear’
A British Transport Police officer took on the three terrorists who launched an indiscriminate killing spree in the London Bridge terror attack armed with only a baton, it has been revealed.
Seven people have been killed and several more remain in a critical condition after the atrocity on Saturday night.
The officer took on the trio armed only with his baton before being stabbed in the head, face and leg.
British Transport Police chief constable Paul Crowther hailed the courage of an officer, who remains in hospital.
“Although he is seriously unwell, he was able to recount how he faced the attackers armed only with his baton, outside London Bridge station,” Mr Crowther said.
“For an officer who only joined us less than two years ago, the bravery he showed was outstanding and makes me extremely proud.”
It has also emerged a bystander was injured when they were accidentally hit by a stray bullet as police opened fire with an “unprecedented” hail of 50 bullets to kill the three knifemen after their eight-minute wave of terror in central London.
The terrorists brought carnage to the streets of the capital, mowing down pedestrians with a van on London Bridge before stabbing a police officer and revellers around Borough Market with 12-inch knives.
Police have arrested 12 people in connection with the attack as Theresa May told the nation: “enough is enough”.
One of the attackers shouted “this is for Allah” as he knifed a man near a pub.
Saturday night’s atrocity was the third terrorist outrage to hit the country this year.
The suspected terrorists, wearing fake explosive vests, were shot by armed police at Borough Market within eight minutes of the first call being made.
Acts of heroism
On a night in which some of those caught up in the attack actually turned on the terrorists and started fighting them, a taxi driver has described how he tried to ram the three suspects when he saw them start randomly stabbing people.
The driver, who gave his name only as Chris, told LBC he saw one of the attackers stab a girl “in the chest” and decided he had to take action.
“I spun the cab round and was about to ram him,” said Chris. “He side-stepped and three police officers came running towards him with their batons drawn.
“They didn’t know what was happening, they were just running towards an incident and the bravery from them… I wish them the best because all they were armed with was a baton.”
Eyewitness Gerard Vowles told the BBC he shouted at passers-by to run after he saw all three men stabbing a girl on Borough High Street.
“I was throwing bottles at them, pint glasses, stools, chairs, I tried to help as many people as I could,” he said.
Sonia Malhotra-Denny, a PR Manager from Earlsfield, London, said she recognised Gerard as a man who ran into the Brindisa Tapas restaurant shouting for people to hide.
“He said ‘it’s a terrorist attack, get up and a move’,” she told Press Association. “I saw the whites of his eyes and I knew it was something serious.”
Another act of heroism was recounted by Rhiannon Owen, a student nurse who was at a cash point when a taxi driver shouted at her to run.
“I saw the knife and I didn’t turn around again. I just started running as fast as I could,” she said.
The 19-year-old sprinted into Applebee’s pub where she joined dozens of others who took refuge in a stock room.
Rhiannon urged the man to get in touch.
“You saved my life and you let me go and make sure other people were safe.”
Witnesses also described seeing people being attacked by the men, with some trying to fight them off with glasses.
A witness called Eric told BBC Radio 5 Live: “The three people literally started kicking them, punching them, and took out knives. It was a rampage really.”
The attack in the capital just after 10pm on Saturday night is the second terrorist atrocity in the UK in as many weeks after 22 people were killed in a bomb attack at Manchester Arena, and the third in three months – with an attack taking place in Westminster in March.
Addressing the nation from Downing Street after chairing a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee, Mrs May said: “We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are.”
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She said: “It is time to say ‘Enough is enough’. Everybody needs to go about their lives as they normally would. Our society should continue to function in accordance with our values. But when it comes to taking on extremism and terrorism, things need to change.
“We need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out across the public sector and across society. That will require some difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations.”
Mrs May paid tribute to the emergency services, including armed officers who confronted and shot dead the attackers.
She said 48 people injured in the attack were being treated in hospitals across London, many with life-threatening conditions.
Confirming the arrests of 12 people in connection with the atrocity, Scotland Yard said the investigation into the “horrific attack” at London Bridge and Borough Market was progressing rapidly with officers searching several addresses.
Earlier Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick condemned the atrocity as “appalling” and “ghastly” as she revealed the death toll had risen to seven.
She said police believe there were three attackers and all had been “neutralised”.
Witnesses reported seeing a vehicle travelling at about 50mph hit people as they walked along the pavement.
BBC reporter Holly Jones said: “He swerved right round me and then hit about five or six people. He hit about two people in front of me and then three behind.”
The van carried on to Borough Market, where three men got out and started to stab people, including a British Transport Police Officer.
The three men ran towards the nearby bars and restaurants and there was a shout of “this is for Allah”, he said.
Another witness also described hearing the attackers shout “This is for Allah” as they stabbed people near Borough Market.
Revellers described people told to evacuate nearby bars, as well as seeing people seeking help after being stabbed.