News Britain

Friday 21 July 2017

Police recover body 'of missing man' from Thames - as family pay tribute to nanny Sara (21)

  • Detectives recover body from Thames during search for missing Frenchman Xavier Thomas
  • Sara Zelenak (21) 'avoided both Westminster and Manchester Arena terror incidents'
  • Families still wait for news about loved ones
  • Death toll now rises to eight people
Mother confirms Sara Zelenak (left) as one of the dead, while detectives recover body believed to be missing man Xavier Thomas (right) from Thames
Mother confirms Sara Zelenak (left) as one of the dead, while detectives recover body believed to be missing man Xavier Thomas (right) from Thames
Sara Zelenak (Photo: Facebook)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

An Australian woman who was thought to be missing following the London Bridge terror attack was killed in the atrocity after avoiding two other terror attacks, her mother has revealed.

Sara Zelenak's mother, Julie Wallace, said DNA tests had confirmed her daughter was among those murdered when three men drove a van into pedestrians before stabbing passers-by.

The 21-year-old nanny, from Brisbane, had become separated from her friends as they left the London Grind bar near the bridge when the attack happened.

According to Ms Wallace, her daughter had been at Westminster Bridge the day before Khalid Masood ploughed through pedestrians there in March, and had planned to go to the Manchester Ariana Grande concert on 22 May, Australian radio station 97.3FM reported.

Ms Zelenak's family paid tribute to their "beautiful daughter and sister".

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Sara Zelenak

"Sara's family and friends are devastated," the family said in a statement.

"We would like to thank our friends and family who are helping us through this very difficult time.

"We will not be making any further comment, and we ask that the media respect our privacy."

Her loved ones have also taken to social media to pay tribute.

Her father, Mark Wallace, shared a video of his daughter and wrote: “I really miss that funny little laugh.”

Friend Elle Bishop said on Facebook: "I find solace in the fact that the hate that saw you taken from us, you have never felt inside, making you a remarkable young woman."

Ms Zelenak's aunt said on Facebook: "We are all so distraught to have lost our little Sara. She is the most beautiful, happy, positive young lady with so much to live for. Her heart and spirit will live on in all of us."

Ms Zelenak had not been seen since the attack after she became separated from friends on Saturday night.

Two Australians were confirmed among the dead by the country's minister for foreign affairs, Julie Bishop.

The death toll has now risen to eight people, after detectives searching for French national Xavier Thomas, 45, who disappeared during the London Bridge terror attack, recovered a body from the Thames near Limehouse.

His next of kin have been informed, Scotland Yard said.

Xavier Thomas has been missing since he was caught up in the attack with his girlfriend, Christine Delcros.

The French couple, who were visiting London for the weekend, were walking south over London Bridge around the time the attack started, according to police.

Ms Delcros was seriously injured when she was struck by the van, while witnesses accounts suggest Mr Thomas was thrown into the River Thames by the impact, Scotland Yard said.

Nathalie Cros Brohan said on Facebook on Monday that her sister, Ms Delcros, had been taken to hospital, while Mr Thomas was yet to be found.

On Tuesday the Metropolitan Police issued an appeal for help to find the 45-year-old as Marine Policing Unit and Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) teams searched the river.

The Victims

Identities of the London Bridge attack victims have continued to emerge as police launched a missing persons appeal for a French tourist who remains unaccounted for.

Canadian Christine Archibald, 30, was the first victim to be named.

She died in her fiance's arms after being struck by the speeding van on London Bridge.

Her family said she would have had "no understanding of the callous cruelty that caused her death".

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Chrissy Archibald. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

James McMullan, 32, from Hackney, was last seen outside the Barrowboy And Banker pub and his sister said police have told her his bank card was found on a body at the scene of the attack.

Melissa McMullan described her brother as "an inspiration" and told Sky News: "While our pain will never diminish, it is important for us all to carry on with our lives in direct opposition to those who wish to destroy us, and remember that hatred is the refuge of small-minded individuals and will only breed more."

She added that police told her they were unable to formally identify him until the coroner's report is released.

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James McMullan. Photo: PA

Alexandre Pigeard, 27, has been named by French media as one of those killed.

Brittany news outlet Le Telegramme reported an account from Boro Bistro manager Vincent Le Berre, who told how his colleague, Mr Pigeard, was attacked by a terrorist in the bar near Borough Market on Saturday night.

"I managed to escape him, but my friend Alexandre did not have that chance. He was hit in the neck with a knife," he said.

According to French media, Mr Pigeard was from Caen, in Normandy, but had been living in London for more than two years.

French chef Sebastien Belanger, 36, is thought to be among those who died.

He was drinking at the Boro Bistro near Borough Market when the area came under attack.

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Originally from Angers, western France, Mr Belanger had lived in London for several years and worked at the Coq d'Argent restaurant in the City, the Daily Telegraph reported.

French media have reported that his family are travelling to London on Wednesday to identify a body which is believed to be his.

Australian nurse Kirsty Boden was killed after she ran towards danger to help people, her family said.

Relatives said the 28-year-old was "loved and adored by her family, friends and boyfriend", while colleagues at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital in central London described her as "one in a million".

"As she ran towards danger, in an effort to help people on the bridge, Kirsty sadly lost her life," her family said in a statement. "We are so proud of Kirsty's brave actions which demonstrate how selfless, caring and heroic she was."

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Melbourne Radio 3AW Ms Boden was killed by "cowardly, vicious terrorists".

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Kirsty Boden. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Meanwhile the grim wait continues for the families and friends searching for loved ones since the attack:

Spanish banker Ignacio Echeverria, 39, remains missing after trying to help an injured woman in Borough Market, his father said, based on the account of his son's friend who was at the scene.

Joaquin Echeverria told the Associated Press that the family were flying to London on Tuesday to join other relatives, adding that authorities had not shared any information with them.

The son's employer, HSBC, has provided the services of a private detective to help in the hunt for information.

Dozens of others were injured, including four police officers:

A British Transport Police (BTP) officer was stabbed in the head, face and leg after taking on the knifemen armed only with his baton.

An off-duty Metropolitan Police officer was in hospital with serious injuries after he confronted the attackers with no weapon.

Two other Met officers, who were both on duty, received less serious injuries during the rampage.

New Zealander Oliver Dowling, 32, from Christchurch, is reported to have been left in a coma after being stabbed in the face, neck and stomach.

It was reported that his girlfriend, Marie Bondeville, was also injured.

Sunday Express business editor Geoff Ho was left in intensive care after being stabbed in the throat when he tried to help a wounded bouncer.

He has tweeted: "Thank you every one for the best wishes. I got out of surgery yesterday and am on the mend."

Two Australians were stabbed in the neck, premier Mr Turnbull said.

Candice Hedge underwent treatment in St Thomas' Hospital, while Andrew Morrison received stitches for a wound and was on his way home to Australia.

Daniel O'Neill, 23, was left with a 7in wound from his stomach to his back and was saved by a friend who applied a tourniquet and took him downstairs in a pub.

Millwall FC fan Roy Larner, 47, told the Sun he was knifed eight times as terrorists targeted drinkers at the Black & Blue restaurant and bar.

Speaking to the paper from hospital, he said he tried to fight them off with his bare hands, adding: "They got me in my head, chest and both hands. There was blood everywhere."

Additional reporting: Independent.co.uk

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