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London Bridge attackers ‘like predators’

Image copyright GoogleMaps
Image caption Geoff Ho was in Black and Blue – next to Borough Market – when the attackers entered

The London Bridge attackers stalked people who were in a bar-restaurant like “predators”, a man who was stabbed has told the inquest.

Geoff Ho was in Black and Blue, on the edge of Borough Market, when the three attackers entered with “slow, deliberate predatory movements”.

He was among 48 people injured on the evening of 3 June 2017.

Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, killed eight people with their van and knife attack.

Speaking at the Old Bailey, Mr Ho told the inquest: “It was like they were stalking someone.”

He said he refused the attackers’ demands to lie down on the floor, saying he knew “if I lay down I’d be dead”.

He told the court they were wearing a series of “metal canisters liked baked bean tins” with wires connecting them, which he took to be suicide bombs.

After being told by one of the men to lie on the floor, he told the court he said: “No – you don’t have to do this.”

He said he thought: “If I rush him he might detonate and kill us all. The only thing I can do is talk to him and hopefully he will go away.”

He described the “murderous rage” in the man’s eyes.

Mr Ho gave a graphic description of how he was repeatedly stabbed. Eventually he was able to get up and seek help, with his hand clasped around his throat to stop the bleeding.

CCTV footage later showed that the time taken from the three men entering the bar until they lashed out was less than a minute.

Mr Ho told the court: “It seemed longer.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Geoff Ho and his fiancee Cecile De Alenca

The first 10 days of the inquests focused on the eight people killed in the first few minutes of the attack.

The hearing has now begun to look into the next phase – as Redouane, Butt and Zaghba continued stabbing people in bars, restaurants and on the street in the Borough Market area.

Candice Hedge – a waitress at Elliot’s Cafe, opposite Black and Blue – described how customers were “scrambling to try to get a safe spot” when the three attackers came in.

She said she remembered seeing “some sort of wires” on one of the men, which she thought looked like an explosive vest.

“They were shouting something along the lines of they were not happy with the way we were living our lives,” Ms Hedge added.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Ho and Candice Hedge both gave evidence to the inquest on Wednesday

She saw one of the men stab a customer twice in the back and then “the one beside me turned around as if to leave and then he saw me”.

Ms Hedge put her hands up to protect her face, but was stabbed in the neck. She went to the bar and grabbed a napkin which she used to try and stem the bleeding.

‘Bar stools smashing’

She said she moved to the stairs and could not see what the attacker was doing, but could hear bar stools smashing.

She fled to a downstairs kitchen where she waited with colleagues until police arrived about 20-30 minutes later.

Meanwhile, the last person injured in the attack – Antonio Filis – told the court he felt lucky to be alive after a knife wound narrowly missed his lung.

The inquest heard he had had martial arts training some years before and was initially able to use it to avoid the assailant’s knife.

But the other two attackers joined the assault stabbing Mr Filis several times.

As he lay on the ground, Mr Filis said he thought: “Whatever’s going to happen, please make it quick.”

Almost immediately, armed police arrived and the three attackers left him.

The trio moved towards the officers, who warned them to drop their knives before opening fire, hitting all three of the attackers.

Xavier Thomas, 45, Christine Archibald, 30, Sara Zelenak, 21, Sebastien Belanger, 36, James McMullan, 32, Kirsty Boden, 28, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, and Ignacio Echeverria, 39, were all killed in the attack.

It was brought to an end in less than 10 minutes when the attackers were shot dead.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48368346

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