Monday 9 December 2019

‘You could see smoke rise from the guns as three shots went off’ - Irish eye-witness to London Bridge terror attack

Jack Merritt and (right) Saskia Jones died following the terrorist attack near to London Bridge
Photo credit: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire
Jack Merritt and (right) Saskia Jones died following the terrorist attack near to London Bridge Photo credit: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire
Jack Merritt
Much-loved: The families of Saskia Jones (pictured) and Jack Merritt paid tribute to the two Cambridge alumni

Gabija Gataveckaite

AN IRISH woman has described seeing smoke rising from guns as police shot dead a terrorist who had killed two people in London on Friday.

Jane Healy, from Knocknaheeny in Cork, has described fearing for her life as she saw convicted terrorist Usman Khan (28) wearing a vest of fake explosives near where she sat on an open-top bus on London Bridge.

Jack Merritt (25) and Saskia Jones (23) died in the attack and several others were injured.

Ms Healy told RTÉ Radio One's Liveline this afternoon how she could hear somebody shouting that an attack had happened.

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“We could hear someone shouting from the steps and that police were on the way,” she said.

“The bus moved a little bit and we got onto the bridge.”

Watching from the bus, Ms Healy and the other passengers saw policemen arrive within minutes.

“They tried to taser him first but that didn’t do anything and then there was the three gunshots.

“Then they shot him and you could actually see the smoke rise from the gun when the shots went off.”

She assumed that the bus had stopped as the bus driver had to follow “protocol” in case of emergency.

“We couldn’t get off the bus because [the driver] wasn’t letting anybody off the bus,” she said.

“We just presumed that he had a protocol to follow if anything happened.”

Khan was wearing a fake explosives belt and Ms Healy said that she could see the belt attached to his waist.

However, she was not aware at the time that it was a fake belt.

“You could see that it was all taped on with grey duct tape onto his waist.

“People on the bus were lying on the ground on the bus [in case of an explosion],” she said.

“We would never think this would be on our doorstep or that we would actually see something like this and we didn’t know what to do.”

She remembers being shaken after the attack and not realising how serious the incident was until she heard someone shouting that Khan had just killed someone.

“I just thought he was trying to rob something, because he had no clue what was going on.

“We were in a state of shock.

“When he lifted his hands up on the bridge, you could see what he had strapped to his waist.”

She explained that it was at that moment that she realised that he could have been a suicide bomber.

“It was a case of, ‘okay, this could have went seriously wrong’,” she said.

“We were shaking.”

Ms Healy added that when she returned to her hotel and saw the rest of her family who were abroad with her, that the adrenalin wore off and she realised what had happened.

“Our main priority was to get back to where we were staying.

“We didn’t take a deep breath until we were on the tube on the way back and we kind of processed it then.

“When we saw the rest of our family we then started crying and shaking,” she explained.

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