Friday 25 May 2018

'We were standing just two feet away from the knifeman - he kept jabbing' - Irish woman who witnessed London terror attack

Eva Murphy and her friends witnessed the terrorist knife attack
Eva Murphy and her friends witnessed the terrorist knife attack
Police officers Tasered and subdued the attacker (centre) at Leytonstone tube station
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A young Irishwoman has told of the terrifying moment she came face to face with the crazed knifeman at the centre of a London terrorist attack.

Eva Murphy believed that either she or one of her three friends was going to die after they walked off a tube and into the path of the knifeman.

The schoolteacher, from Ballylannon, Wellingtonbridge in Wexford, described how she saw one victim lying in a massive pool of blood in Leytonstone station, before witnessing the man stab a second in the neck.

"We actually did think we were going to die," the 24-year-old told 'The Ryan Tubridy Show' on RTE Radio 1 this morning.

"We thought we were going to die when he produced the knife with the blood all over it."

"Nobody could see the knife until he lifted his hand," she told presenter Brendan O'Connor.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Ms Murphy said: "People just started to panic. Because he was in an enclosed area, he had people cornered if he wanted to."

Police are treating Saturday evening's stabbings as a "terrorist incident" amid reports that the suspect repeatedly shouted: "This is for Syria."

A man was arrested after being Tasered by police - but officials said the threat from terrorism in the city remained "severe" and that further attacks were "highly likely".

Ms Murphy, who lives in London, had spent the afternoon in Oxford Circus looking at the Christmas lights with friends. They were returning home when the drama unfolded.

"Coming off the tube, there were a load of people on the platform but we just thought that there was a delay or maybe somebody had fallen.

"We walked through the crowd and then we saw a man on the floor. His eyes were rolling back in his head. We thought he had fallen down the stairs but there was a massive pool of blood and it was so thick.

"It looked like half the blood had left his body. In the blood there was a chain that looked like it had been cut straight through," Ms Murphy said.

The man was being helped by others, so the group continued towards the exit when another man started shouting: "Not safe, run."

The 29-year-old knifeman was standing behind a whiteboard used to inform passengers of cancelled trains and at first Ms Murphy and her friends didn't notice him.

"We were standing two feet away from his knife but it wasn't registering what was happening. Another man who was trying video it just kept shouting, 'run, not safe.'"

However, when the knifeman moved, she could see a blade sticking out from under his sleeve.

"Another woman skimmed past in front of us, going into the station, and he went for her neck and missed her. But he kept jabbing at her. We were screaming and crying. He got the woman," Ms Murphy said.

She described the man as "casually dressed" but well over six feet tall.

"He definitely would have caught us if he had gone after us," she said.

In the panic that ensued, Ms Murphy and two of her friends managed to run outside the station, while one went back onto a tube.

"As we ran, I was screaming the name of the girl in front of me and the girl behind was screaming our other friend's name. When she started to scream I thought he'd got her.

"She had got back on the tube but it went the wrong direction. She got a taxi back and is fine but we were really worried," Ms Murphy said.

"We are just so blessed that nothing happened to us. It was horrible. We're okay now but we were in a state of shock last night."

Ms Murphy told RTE Radio 1 this morning that herself and her friends "never worried before" and that "people will become a lot more vigilant now".

"But you still have to go to work, you still have to go about your business," she said.

Scotland Yard said officers arrived at the scene shortly after 7pm and within five minutes of the emergency calls, and a 29-year-old man was restrained and arrested.

Graphic footage of the attack posted online show the knifeman wildly gesticulating and confronting several people in the station, before slashing a man in the throat area.

Several uniformed police officers then arrive on the scene and they Tasered the attacker.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News