London Bridge attack inquest: One attacker seen cleaning his knife on CCTV

London Bridge attack inquest: One attacker seen cleaning his knife on CCTV

Clockwise: Chrissy Archibald, Sebastien Belanger, Kirsty Boden, Ignacio Echeverria, Sara Zelenak, Xavier Thomas, Alexandre Pigeard, James McMullan

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The victims of the attack clockwise – Chrissy Archibald, Sebastien Belanger, Kirsty Boden, Ignacio Echeverria, Sara Zelenak, Xavier Thomas, Alexandre Pigeard, James McMullan

One of the London Bridge attackers was seen washing his knife and wiping it on his beard shortly after eight people were killed, an inquest has heard.

Khuram Butt, 27, was caught on CCTV cleaning his 12in pink ceramic knife inside the Black and Blue restaurant.

In the same footage, an accomplice, Youssef Zaghba, 22, was seen having a drink from behind the bar.

The inquest also heard two victims might still be alive if barriers had been put up after a similar attack.

Khuram Butt, Youssef Zaghba and Rachid Redouane were shot dead by police after they drove a van into pedestrians, stabbed others, and confronted unarmed police officers shouting “Allahu Akbar” on 3 June 2017.

‘Chilling’

Counsel for the coroner Jonathan Hough QC had warned the families of the victims at the inquest at the Old Bailey that “distressing images” would be shown and that Butt’s reaction was “the most chilling”.

The inquest was also shown footage of diner Roy Larner, dubbed the Lion of London Bridge, being savagely stabbed in the stomach.

Mr Larner appeared not to react after he was stabbed twice in quick succession before he stood up and ran away.

In other footage, the third attacker, Rachid Redouane, 30, was shown on CCTV bending down to tie his shoelaces in the street during the attack through Borough Market.

Redouane was also seen, in other images, talking to an unidentified man and then walking away without attacking him, for reasons that are not known.

Mr Hough said: “There is clearly some form of discussion. We don’t know what was said. Despite appeals for witnesses, he [the man in the footage] never came forward.”

In the space of three minutes, the attackers had struck Xavier Thomas, 45, and Christine Archibald, 30, with a van on the bridge then fatally stabbed Alexandre Pigeard, 26, Sara Zelenak, 21, Kirsty Boden, 28, Sebastien Belanger, 36, James McMullan, 32, and Ignacio Echeverria, 39, around Borough Market.

Within 10 minutes, the attackers, who injured 48 more people, had been shot dead by police marksmen.

In the CCTV, pedestrians were seen running for their lives as the attackers’ van mounted the pavement on the bridge.

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Metropolitan Police/PA Wire

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An image of the van used by the attackers

The inquest also heard that two victims of the attack, Christine Archibald, 30, and Xavier Thomas, 45, might still be alive if barriers had been put up following the Westminster Bridge attack, which took place two months earlier.

The pair were among 10 people struck by a 2.5-ton hire van driven by Zaghba.

Mr Thomas was knocked into the Thames and found dead three days later, while Ms Archibald died after being dragged under the wheels of the powerful vehicle.

Gareth Patterson, QC, representing some victims, questioned a senior officer about why no barriers were put in place on London Bridge following the earlier attack in Westminster.

He said: “There were no barriers in place on that pavement protecting pedestrians from traffic on that road.

“If there had been barriers Christine Archibald and Xavier Thomas would now be with us today.”

Senior investigating officer Det Supt Rebecca Riggs agreed, saying: “That may well be the case.”

The court heard barriers were put up on London Bridge within two days of the attack.

‘In harm’s way’

Earlier, Det Supt Riggs told the inquest that armed officers who arrived at the scene withdrew when Butt and Zaghba had discarded their jackets to reveal fake suicide vests.

“They could see that the attackers were still moving,” she said.

“They believed they were going to activate the explosive devices they were wearing and they fired a number of shots.”

Neil McLelland, who was looking out of the window of the nearby Wheatsheaf pub, was hit in the head by a bullet and fell to the ground, while five other people were injured by shrapnel from the shooting.

The court heard the officers then put “themselves in harm’s way” to evacuate the pub, taking Mr McLelland and others to safety.

Mr McLelland survived his injuries.

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Getty Images

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The armed officers who killed the knifemen have not been named at the inquest

The second day of the inquest was also told one victim was killed after he tried to beat the attackers with his skateboard.

Det Supt Riggs said Spaniard Ignacio Echeverria, 39, had been cycling with friends when he came across PC Wayne Marques and PC Charlie Guenigault trying to tackle the knifemen.

The officers had stepped in to help Oliver Downing and Marie Bondeville, who had been hurt by the trio.

Mr Echeverria, an HSBC financial crime analyst, ran across to help and swung his board at one of the killers but was knocked to the ground by Redouane, the inquest was told.

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Family handout

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Ignacio Echeverria was the last of eight people to be killed in the attack

Det Supt Riggs said: “Ignacio got off his bike and ran across to where the two officers were to assist [them].”

“He had taken his board from his rucksack and swung at the attackers and managed to hit them. [Rachid] Redouane retaliated, causing him to fall on the ground,” she added.

“The attackers then set upon him on the ground.”

Counsel to the coroner Jonathan Hough QC added: “It was a brief but furious assault.”

Attack caught on cameras

BBC reporter Marie Jackson, at the inquest

Over several hours, the inquest watched the horrific attack unfold from every angle, second by second, from cameras on buildings, in restaurants, in taxis and buses, on police body-cams and the public’s mobile phones.

The hearing gasped as the attackers’ van was shown careering over London Bridge, knocking over pedestrians like skittles.

One camera captured Tyler Ferguson running to the side of his fiancée, Chrissy Archibald, as she lay dying in the middle of the road.

Other footage showed the attackers striding side-by-side through Borough Market, indiscriminately stabbing anyone in their path.

Their victims are filmed bleeding in the street, clutching their faces, heads and chests.

In the Black and Blue restaurant, the men stabbed customers with their knives before ducking behind the bar to swig some water from a tap.

On their way out, they picked up a couple of bottles, smashed them on the side of a table – another weapon.

On Thursday, the hearing is due to hear from an eyewitness, Christine Delcros, whose partner Xavier Thomas was knocked off the bridge and into the Thames by the attackers’ van.

Earlier, Ms Delcros wept in court as CCTV footage showed the French couple walking hand in hand towards the bridge, their final moments together.

In a touching moment, Julie Wallace, the bereaved mother of Sara Zelenak, crossed the courtroom to take a seat beside Ms Delcros to comfort her.

The inquest continues.

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