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Brave mum-of-two confronted crazed knifeman

A woman who risked her life to confront an armed man suspected of slaughtering a British soldier has described how she tried to calm him moments after the barbaric attack.

Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, a 48-year-old mother-of-two, was on a bus heading through Woolwich when she spotted the stricken soldier lying bloodied in the road.

Her bravery – and that of others who tried to reason with the killers – has been praised, particularly in the wake of amateur footage from the scene, which shows one of the two suspects making political statements about the slaughter while still brandishing weapons.

Scout leader Ms Loyau-Kennett was speaking today ahead of a meeting by the British government's emergency response committee, Cobra, which will discuss security measures following the attack.

Ms Loyau-Kennett, of Cornwall, said she initially thought the victim had been injured in a car crash after spotting a badly damaged vehicle on a pavement at the scene.

CRADLING

She said: "I went to the guy and when I approached the body there was a lady cradling him. And then (one of the killers), the most excited one of the two, said, 'Don't go too close to the body'.

"I thought, okay. And because I was down I could see a butcher's knife and an axe – that's what he had – and blood. I thought, what the heck? I thought obviously he was a bit excited and the thing was just to talk to him."

Ms Loyau-Kennett said she tried to reason with the killer in an effort to focus his attention away from other potential victims, as large crowds began to gather.

She said: "I know it's big today but for me it was just a regular guy, just a bit upset. He was not on drugs, he was not drunk.

"He said, 'Don't touch, I killed him'. I said, 'Why?' He said: 'He's a British soldier. He killed people. He killed Muslim people in Muslim countries.'

"And I said, 'Okay. So what would you like?' I tried to make him talk about how he felt. He said all the bombs dropping and blindly killing women, children...

"More and more people were starting to come. There were so many people around. I just looked around and I found it so daunting."

However, Ms Loyau-Kennett said her thoughts were to "just carry on" talking to the man, while several woman arriving at the scene tried to shield the victim.

She said: "I wanted him to concentrate on me and make sure he doesn't have a funny idea."

Asked if she was scared, the woman replied: "No – better me than a child."

hnews@herald.ie


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