Saturday 7 December 2019

Terrorist wearing fake suicide vest kills two before being shot dead

Bystanders wrestled man to the ground

Day of drama: Members of the public hold down the suspect before he’s shot. Photos: @HLOBlog/Twitter/PA Wire
Day of drama: Members of the public hold down the suspect before he’s shot. Photos: @HLOBlog/Twitter/PA Wire

Martin Evans in London

The panicked screams echoing through the ornate Fishmongers' Hall were the first indication that terror had returned to the streets of London on a day when a man wearing a fake suicide vest stabbed two people to death before being shot dead.

THE panicked screams echoing through the ornate Fishmongers' Hall were the first indication that terror had returned to the streets of London on a day when a man wearing a fake suicide vest stabbed two people to death before being shot dead.

Those attending an event marking the five-year anniversary of a Cambridge University criminal justice initiative, Learning Together, had just returned from lunch when a tall, bearded man burst in through the doors brandishing two large knives.

Around 100 delegates, including outreach workers and criminologists, were caught up in yesterday's chaos. The group had spent the morning at workshops. Many had posted updates on Twitter, smiling for selfies in their lanyards.

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But shortly before 2pm, their peace was shattered in the most violent of ways. As the suspect burst inside, several members of staff found themselves directly in his path. Many were stabbed as they attempted to fight him off.

A witness identified only as Coralie, who was working at the event, saw two or three people stabbed, some of whom were bleeding profusely.

One of her colleagues was stabbed three times. A chef called Jordan, who works at the hall, wrote on Twitter: "A good lifelong friend Luckasz was stabbed. [He] took on the attacker, being stabbed didn't stop him giving him a beating... He's in a stable condition."

The attacker was chased out on to London Bridge. As he burst out into the winter sunshine, a group of men, one with a fire extinguisher, bravely pursued him. The volley of horrified shouts and screams had alerted scores of workers and tourists. Many began running for their lives. Within moments, the attacker was wrestled to the ground by a group of four of five men. One of them, called Stevie (32) said: "I was driving, I stopped the car and ran towards it. I don't know why. There were about five guys there. I jumped in and kicked him in the head to make him release his knife. He was shouting 'get off me, get off me'.

"We wanted to make sure we got the knife away from him as quickly as possible. We wanted to kick him. Everyone was shouting. The knife flew away."

A witness said: "One of them had a fire extinguisher, he was hitting the man with it, hitting his hand to knock the knives out of his hand. They were all grappling with him on the ground."

One man, dressed in a suit and black coat, since hailed a hero, managed to grab the knife, holding it blade down as he edged away from the commotion. Within a minute or two, firearms officers from City of London police arrived. One was seen running across the road and jumping the security barrier before yelling at the men to stand clear. "Don't move, don't move," he was heard to shout. Within seconds, a shot rang out. As the bullet was fired, the suspect pulled open his jacket to reveal a bomb vest.

Stevie added: "The moment they rolled him over off his chest, they saw he had a bomb vest. The police arrived so quickly. They told us 'get the f--- back'. They had rifles. They put three rounds into him." A witness said: "[The suspect] was immediately sick. The police then moved right back and shot at him repeatedly from a distance. Then no one went near him for about half an hour."

Karen Bosch, who was on a bus, said: "He was lying on the floor and there were two loud pops. After the pops he [the suspect] then pulled his jacket back and you could see underneath there was some sort of vest... at that point the police officers backed away."

Seriously injured victims were carried on stretchers out of Fishmongers' Hall. Others walked out, covered in blood. One person was given CPR near London Bridge.

Four police officers were seen carrying a woman from the scene in a harness, her legs covered in blood. After about half an hour, officers approached the suspect, turned him over and began to remove items from his person.

Police took witnesses to the Salvation Army building near St Paul's Cathedral to gather statements. One man told reporters: "My friend died in my arms today. I just want my friend back." Additional reporting: Telegraph reporters. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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