Monday 24 July 2017

Man 'broken into a million pieces' after fiancée dies in his arms after terror attack

Chrissy Archibald. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Chrissy Archibald. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The first-named victim of the attack died in her fiancé's arms, it emerged yesterday.

Canadian Chrissy Archibald (30) was walking across London Bridge with her partner Tyler Ferguson when the terrorists' van careered onto the pavement and mowed her down.

Mr Ferguson, who was walking just ahead of Miss Archibald, looked back at her as he heard screeching tyres and saw victims being knocked down, his family revealed. He tried to resuscitate her but she died as he held her.

Mr Ferguson's sister Cassie Ferguson Rowe said he was devastated and unable to eat or sleep. "He is broken into a million pieces," she said. "He held her and watched her die in his arms."

Read more: 'Not on my watch': Martial arts expert stabbed trying to save bouncer

The couple had only recently become engaged after Ms Archibald, a homeless shelter volunteer, moved to the Netherlands, where her fiancé works as an accountant.

Sara Zelenak
Sara Zelenak

Meanwhile, for the families of those still missing, they had waited two agonising days, sick to their stomachs and desperately hoping for news.

But then, yesterday afternoon, came the knock at the door the family had dreaded.

James McMullan (32), the one Briton missing since the London Bridge terror attack, was almost certainly among the dead. His bank card had been found on one of the bodies yet to be formally identified. "He was an inspiration," his sister Melissa McMullan sobbed. "No words can ever match his essence. There will only ever be one James.

For the McMullan family, the devastating news brought an end to a period of limbo in which all they could do was scour hospitals, make agonising public appeals and call his phone until the battery went dead.

James McMullan. Photo: PA
James McMullan. Photo: PA

Several other families remain stuck in this nightmare, clinging to the faint glimmer of hope that their loved ones might still be found alive in hospital, not daring to imagine the alternative.

Among those who remain missing are Sara Zelenak (21), an Australian nanny who should have been babysitting that evening but went out with friends in a last minute change of plan, two Frenchmen and a Spaniard who used his skateboard to try to save a woman from the attackers.

Mr McMullan, from Hackney, east London, had not been seen since he stepped outside the Barrowboy and Banker on Borough High Street, where he had been drinking with old school friends. Five minutes later, the terrorists ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge, before crashing the vehicle directly outside the bar and indiscriminately stabbing people.

In a tragic twist, Miss McMullan said that it had been her brother's first night out for months, as he celebrated the completion of business project to which he had dedicated every waking hour for two years.

Ignacio Echeverría
Ignacio Echeverría

Their father, Simon McMullan, vowed to continue the work on his "exceptional" son's e-learning business.

Read more: 'Heroic' off-duty policeman severely injured after fighting off terrorists with bare hands

Among others forced to endure the hideous wait for news is the traumatised mother of Miss Zelenak, who would speak to her daughter every day.

This week, the calls have been replaced by a deafening silence and she is instead flying from Brisbane to London to await news.

Miss Zelenak's stepfather, Mark Wallace, revealed that she had been due to babysit on the night of the attack, but at the last minute the child's grandmother stepped in to help, meaning she could go out with friends. Mr Wallace, from Brisbane, said: "I feel terrible, I can't think.

Xavier Thomas
Xavier Thomas

Ignacio Echeverria (39) was last seen lying on a pavement after heroically confronting one of the terrorists who was stabbing a woman, friends have revealed. The HSBC analyst, originally from Las Rozas, near Madrid, was cycling home to Poplar, east London, from a skate park on Saturday when he ran to the woman's aid, using his skateboard as a weapon. HSBC is said to have employed private detectives to find him.

Friends of 36-year-old Sebastien Belanger have said they are clinging onto the hope that he is still out there, suffering from amnesia due to a "violent mental shock".

Mr Belanger, a French chef who works at the Coq d'Argent restaurant in the City, had watched the football with friends and was having a last drink in the Boro Bistro when they heard the attackers' van smash into a wall directly above them. His friend Robin, (24) said that in the panic, he lost sight of Sebastien."We have no idea which way he left nor what happened. I tried to call him but have no news."

Sebastien Belanger
Sebastien Belanger

Another of the group's friends, a waiter from Brittany, is thought to be among the dead.

A third Frenchman, Xavier Thomas, who was out with friends, is also missing.

His girlfriend, Christine Delcros, was reportedly seriously injured in the attack and is recovering in hospital.

Christophe Castaner, a spokesman for the French government, said it was believed he may have jumped into the Thames.

Irish Independent

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in World News