Monday 21 May 2018

Eye-witnesses speak of assailants wielding large knives

People run down Borough High Street during last night's
People run down Borough High Street during last night's "major incident" at London Bridge. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Luke Heighton

Witnesses caught up in last night's terror attacks in London described seeing a speeding vehicle veer into crowds on London Bridge and people being stabbed in Borough Market, before police responded to incidents in the British capital.

A van swerved off the road on London Bridge and a cab driver on the bridge said men stepped out carrying knives.

"A van came from London Bridge itself, went between the traffic light system and rammed it towards the steps. It knocked loads of people down. Then three men got out with long blades, 12 inches long and went randomly along Borough High Street stabbing people at random. I saw a young girl stabbed in the chest.

"I said to the guy in my cab that I was going to try to hit him, I was going to ram him. I turned around and tried - but he side-stepped me.

"Then there were two police officers running towards him with their batons drawn - they didn't know what was happening.

"There was a guy with a really long blade randomly stabbing people. I told people to turn around and run away. I was sickened to the pit of my stomach."

In the popular food market and restaurant area of Borough Market, witnesses said they saw a man with a large blade.

Husband and wife Ben and Natalie told BBC Radio 5 Live they were outside Borough Market, coming up the entrance of the underground, when they saw the incident.

Read More: Timeline of Europe's terror attacks

Ben said: "We saw people running away and then I saw a man in red with a large blade, at a guess 10 inches long, stabbing a man about three times.

"It looked like the man had been trying to intervene, but there wasn't much he could do. He was being stabbed quite coldly and he slumped to the ground."

Ben said the man walked away boldly with another person, and went towards the Southwark Tavern. He said they saw a metal chair being thrown towards the man.

"Then we heard three gunshots, definitely gunshots, and we ran."

Jamie, a witness who was in a restaurant on Rochester Walk near London Bridge, said: "We were in the Black and Blue restaurant, we heard a fight and everyone got up and everyone rushed out of the restaurant and we heard a massive, massive bang. Then we hid under the table and people came into the restaurant and knocked a bunch of stuff over, like the till.

"And then we ran into the restaurant into the kitchen, where there was a bunch of other people and a guy had been stabbed and he was cut and bleeding quite a lot."

A female companion said: "We were in the restaurant and we just saw three guys come into the restaurant, stabbed someone in the face and someone in the stomach.

"One of them had a big knife, then he came in and walked around the restaurant, I guess they just kind of stabbed anyone that they saw and knocked things on the ground and then we just hid."

Another witness in the London Bridge area, Thomas Daly, was watching the Champions League in The Sheaf when he saw security people running outside towards the entrance. He tried to leave when the match finished but found the doors were closed and they were unable to leave.

The 36-year-old, from Liverpool, said: "People were saying there had been a stabbing at Borough Market and they locked us in. We sat down again and some minutes later people started coming into the bar and people were getting a bit hysterical.

"A lot of people were streaming through the rear exit and we went outside and heard gunshots, at least two gunshots, and at that point the people who were trying to get out the back entrance came back inside.

Armed police then came into the bar and evacuated people, he added.

Liam, who was in a flat above Southwark Tavern next to London Bridge, told BBC Radio 5 Live: "We heard people screaming and we looked out and I saw people running down into the underground, and simply running in any direction they could. The restaurant opposite had been completely smashed up, and a crowd of people were pointing into the market saying 'he's down there'.

"They got the attention of what looked like an armed police car, and pointed down Borough Market. The car screeched in that direction and we heard what sounded like five or six very loud gun shots."


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