Wednesday 26 July 2017

People were shouting 'there's a guy stabbing people' - Irish couple recount horror

People with their hands on their heads about 10 minutes after midnight as they leave from inside a police cordon after an attack in London, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Armed British police rushed to London Bridge late Saturday after reports of a vehicle running down pedestrians and people being stabbed nearby.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
People with their hands on their heads about 10 minutes after midnight as they leave from inside a police cordon after an attack in London, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Armed British police rushed to London Bridge late Saturday after reports of a vehicle running down pedestrians and people being stabbed nearby.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Rebecca Lumley

An Irish couple described the chaos that ensued when they found themselves caught in the middle of the London Bridge terror attack.

Colum O’Dwyer's girlfriend was visiting him in London when the attacks took place. They were having dinner at a restaurant in Borough Market when the attack on London Bridge occurred, and found themselves face to face with the attackers as they ran down Borough High Street.

Speaking on This Week on RTE Radio One, Mr O’Dwyer said that as they got up from their table to leave the restaurant, they saw a commotion outside on the street.

He said: “A father was carrying his son, dragging him along with him, telling him to run. A lot of people seemed agitated.

“We saw the bouncers and security guards from next door run into the market and then they ran back out in pursuit of quite a large guy."

The man, who was one of three attackers, entered the restaurant the couple had just vacated, knocking over the table they had been sitting at as he ran from security guards.

Rescue personnel assemble after an incident near London Bridge in London, Britain June 4, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay
Rescue personnel assemble after an incident near London Bridge in London, Britain June 4, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

He said: “We ran with the group around the corner and down the street. Everyone was quite shaken.”

While the attack happened quickly, Mr O’Dwyer said there had been police cars at the end of the High Street as the couple had finished their dinner, 15 minutes before attackers ran into the market.

He recounted: “There were sirens at the end of the street and they had been going on for a good 15 minutes while we were finishing up our dinner. I thought it was quite strange, I didn’t know what was happening. The sirens stopped and three squad cars drove down past us and just carried on slowly. It was a few minutes after that the commotion really kicked off with police on the scene but they weren’t pursuing the gentlemen on foot.”

Just a few minutes after Mr O’Dwyer and his girlfriend had run around away from the scene, they heard “quite an exchange” of gunshots.

“It could have been coming from the bridge or where we had just been around the market. It was quite a quick flurry but quite a few bullets were flying, obviously.”

The couple said that although there was a police presence in the area at that time, it was the security guards at restaurants and pubs that were directing people away from the scene.

Mr O’Dwyer said: “There were no police on the side streets or outside the main thoroughfares. It was just a lot of tourists, a lot of very confused tourists and people who didn’t know what was happening or hadn’t heard yet.

“There was certainly a presence but they weren’t on foot or directing people.”

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