Wednesday 22 January 2020

I tried to keep bloodied attackers calm

Sarah Rainey

Ingrid Loyau-Kennett has described how she confronted two terrorists who, just minutes previously, had brutally murdered a British soldier outside Woolwich Barracks in south-east London.

As she waited for the police to arrive, Ingrid tried to reason with the two suspects. "Would you like to give me what you have in your hands?" she asked one, pleading with him to put down his weapons.

"We want to start a war," the other told her.

"I will shoot the police when they come. I want to kill them."

Looking them straight in the eye, she replied calmly: "That's not going to happen. I am here and I am going to listen to you."

While up to 60 others – men, women and children – stood back and watched from afar, Ingrid (48) a former Cub Scout leader trained only in first aid, single-handedly kept the attackers calm and distracted them until help finally arrived.

Then she got back on her bus and carried on with the rest of her day.

Just 24 hours after the attack, Ingrid is struggling to understand why everyone is talking about her. "It's a bit much," she admits, shrugging.

Ingrid was on her way home from visiting family in France when she ended up in Woolwich.

On Wednesday, she decided to head back to Cornwall, her home for the past five years. She took a bus which stopped because there was a body on the road and a crashed car.

"I saw the person wasn't moving and nobody else was going to help, so I went. How can people just sit there and do nothing?

"Suddenly this excited black man came up to me and said: 'Get away from the body; don't touch it'. I looked up and I could see red hands, a bloodied revolver, bloodied meat cleaver and a butcher's knife. OK, I thought, this is bad."

Ingrid stood up and started talking to the attacker, now believed to be Michael Adebolojo.

She says she tried not to think about the weapons the man was carrying. "It's one thing to take your car and kill someone – and it's another to look someone in the eyes and plunge a knife into their stomach. I was sure he was not going to do that to me. I didn't even think his revolver was working, so I asked him. He looked at it and then at me and said 'Yes'."

Eventually a woman asked Ingrid to step back. "I told her I wasn't leaving; as long as I don't see professionals here, I'm staying. He knows me; he knows I'm calm. I'm not afraid whatsoever. I'll stay until something happens." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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