London Bridge inquest: Attacker wiped knife on beard in ‘chilling gesture’ | UK News
A terrorist washed his knife and wiped it on his beard in a “chilling gesture” after he and two other attackers killed eight people at London Bridge and Borough Market, an inquest has heard.
Khuram Butt, 27, was caught on CCTV cleaning his 12in pink ceramic knife inside Black and Blue restaurant while Youssef Zaghba, 22, took a drink from the tap behind the bar.
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”.
There were shocked gasps at the Old Bailey on Wednesday as the inquest was shown footage of diner Roy Larner, dubbed the Lion of London Bridge, being stabbed in the stomach.
Mr Larner appeared not to react as the knife was plunged into him twice in quick succession before he stood up and ran away.
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 other CCTV footage, Redouane was seen talking to an unidentified man, and then walking away without attacking him for an unknown reason.
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 from the evening of 3 June 2017, 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.
Dashcam footage from a black cab showed the three attackers running from the van, one with a knife held in front.
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.
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.
Attackers then forced their way into Black and Blue bar. Redouane and Zaghba attacked one man. Butt told another man, Geoffrey Hope, to lie on the floor then stabbed him in the throat
The inquest was told that the rampage continued up Stoney Street with the attackers entering bars and cafes, and stabbing people at random. Two of the attackers discarded their jackets making their fake suicide vests more visible.
The onslaught came to an end when the attackers, wearing mock suicide belts, were shot by police marksmen.
Gareth Patterson, QC, representing some of the victims, questioned a senior officer about why no barriers were put in place on London Bridge, after a similar attack on Westminster in March 2017.
He said: “If there had been barriers Christine Archibald and Xavier Thomas would now be with us today.”
Detective Superintendent Rebecca Riggs agreed, saying: “That may well be the case.”
The court heard barriers were put up on the bridge within two days of the attack.