Sunday 20 August 2017

Third London victim named as Australian Kirsty Boden, killed as she 'ran towards danger' to help people

Kirsty Boden
Kirsty Boden

Independent.ie Newdesk

POLICE in London have confirmed that Australian Kirsty Boden was one of the victims of Saturday's attack.

In a statement, her family said she was the "most outgoing, kind and generous person who loved to help people".

"Helping people was what she loved to do in her job as a nurse and in her daily life.

“As she ran towards danger, in an effort to help people on the bridge, Kirsty sadly lost her life.

"We are so proud of Kirsty’s brave actions which demonstrate how selfless, caring and heroic she was, not only on that night, but throughout all of her life.

"Kirsty – we love you and we will miss you dearly."

Sebastien Belanger CREDIT: FACEBOOK
Sebastien Belanger CREDIT: FACEBOOK
Chrissy Archibald. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Meanwhile the family of another Australian woman who has been missing since the London Bridge terror attack said they are "bracing for the worst", Australian media have reported.

A friend on Facebook said Sara Zelenak, 21, became separated on Saturday night as they ran for their lives.

Australia's ABC News reported a woman, who identified herself as Ms Zelenak's aunt Tara, spoke outside the family's home in Ormiston, near Brisbane, in Queensland on Tuesday.

"We are obviously very upset and emotionally distraught at this time. The family is trying to keep it together but bracing for the worst," she told the news service.

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

Tara reportedly broke down as she described her "absolutely beautiful" niece as "the girl next door" and a "very special, kindred spirit".

"She's one of those girls that doesn't drink, doesn't do drugs, doesn't do anything wrong," Tara added.

Ms Zelenak's mother, Julie Wallace, told Australian radio station 97.3FM her daughter had been travelling in Europe since March and was working as an au pair for a family in London, caring for two young boys.

She said she first heard news of the terror attack by text message as she was returning home from Canberra.

"I thought 'oh no, not again', and didn't think much of it," she said.

But she told listeners she received a "strange call" from the family her daughter was staying with, who told her they had given her the night off to go out with a friend.

"She never came back," said Ms Wallace, who described her daughter as a "very smart, sensible girl", adding: "She doesn't do anything wrong."

Ms Wallace said she had last spoken to her daughter on Friday afternoon when she said she was looking forward to meeting up with her parents in Paris in 28 days.

Asked how she felt when she was told her daughter was missing, Ms Wallace said: "Absolute terror, terror. Because we've been counting down the days to see her.

"I haven't seen her in three months. She went in March on this wonderful trip away, life experience thing, that I was encouraging her to do because life experience is so good."

She said Ms Zelenak had been at Westminster the day before 52-year-old terrorist Khalid Masood killed five in a car and knife rampage, and had planned to go to the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, where suicide bomber Salman Abedi murdered 22 victims.

"Everything, she's just missed," said Ms Wallace, who added she was planning to come to London with her husband to look for her daughter.

The first confirmed victim was Canadian Chrissy Archibald (30) who 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.

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.

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 Ignacio Echeverria (39), 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."

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.

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