London Bridge Attack Inquest: Armed Police "Put Themselves In Harm's Way"

8 May 2019, 15:28

Armed police guard the crime scene in the aftermath of the attacks on London Bridge and Borough Market.
Armed police guard the crime scene in the aftermath of the attacks on London Bridge and Borough Market. Picture: PA

The second day of the London Bridge terror attack inquiry has heard a heroic Spanish lawyer attempted to come to the aid of unarmed police officers by hitting terrorists with a skateboard.

The Inquest heard armed officers shot Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba after they drove a van into pedestrians, stabbed others, and confronted unarmed police officers shouting "Allahu Akbar."

Ignacio Echeverria who worked as a financial crime analyst for HSBC jumped off his bike to run to the aid of two PCs on London Bridge who were confronting the terrorists.

Mr Echeverria swung a skateboard at one of the the the knife-wielding trio but was set upon by the attackers.

Detective Superintendent Rebecca Riggs of Scotland Yard's Specialist Operations Command told a packed courtroom at the Old Bailey: "Ignacio got off his bike and ran across to where the two officers were to assist the two officers.

"He had taken his board from his rucksack and swung at the attackers and managed to hit them. Redouane retaliated, causing him to fall on the ground. The attackers then set upon him on the ground."

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

The attack came to an end when armed City of London police officers arrived on the scene, shooting the attackers.

Additional armed officers arrived on the scene, but withdrew believing the attackers were wearing suicide vests, Det Supt Riggs told the inquest.

She added: "They could see that the attackers were still moving. They believed they were going to activate the explosive devices they were wearing and they fired a number of shots."

Jonathan Hough QC, told the court that 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.

Mr Hough said the officers then put "themselves in harm's way" to evacuate the pub, taking Mr McLelland, who survived his injuries, and others to safety.