Undercover officer describes terrifying moment he shot knife-wielding Streatham terrorist

11 August 2021, 14:54 | Updated: 11 August 2021, 18:12

Officers have described the moment they shot down Sudesh Amman in Streatham
Officers have described the moment they shot down Sudesh Amman in Streatham. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

An undercover officer broke down as he described the moment he opened fire on the Streatham terrorist as he rounded on pursuing constables.

Officer BX87 – which he is referred to as in order to protect his identity – chased Sudesh Amman in Streatham High Road as he lashed out members of the public on a busy street last year.

The rampage was ended when BX87 and fellow covert surveillance constable BX75 opened fire and killed the 20-year-old when he rounded to confront the officers.

Speaking at the inquest into the attack in the Royal Courts of Justice, BX87 said he got to within five metres of Amman when he turned.

The officers pursued him after he ran out of a shop with a large knife and thought it could have been a shoplifting incident.

Read more: Streatham attacker signalled he wanted to 'kill the Queen' before prison release

Read more: Streatham terrorist did well in school before developing 'behavioural issues', inquest hears

BX87 said he saw Amman "plunge" a blade into a woman's upper back and heard him shout "Allahu Akbar".

Describing the incident, on February 2 last year, BX87 added: "The blade was pointing towards me. As I tried to slow myself, my vision almost was like a cartoon - the blade of the knife almost doubled in size.

"It was a strange feeling. His body was forward. It was pretty clear to me he was intent on attacking me or further members of the public.

A forensics operation got under way after the Streatham attack
A forensics operation got under way after the Streatham attack. Picture: Alamy

"I continued shouting 'Armed police, drop the knife'."

"I saw Mr Amman take a number of paces towards me, closing the gap further.

"It really dawned on me at this point that I was going to get stabbed."

BX87 had to ask for a break as he recounted the confrontation.

Amman – who security services had hoped to keep in prison as it was suspected he could still be a threat – had been out of Belmarsh prison for just 10 days, having served part of a 40-month sentence for terror offences.

He was shot dead 62 seconds after stealing a knife to attack people.

BX75 said he locked eyes with Amman before firing but missed, instead shattering a shop window.

He said: "I thought he was going to stab me - and kill me. Certainly seriously injure me."

Amman launched his attack in Streatham High Road
Amman launched his attack in Streatham High Road. Picture: Alamy

The officer then fired another two shots.

He said: "(I thought) that he was going to stab me, attack my colleague, attack anyone who came out of Boots who didn't know what was going on outside, or turn and go into Boots.

"I was convinced he was making a decision there and then who to attack next.

"He was so close to me that I was in immediate fear of my life. I fired a shot in his chest area.

"He was moving towards me and to the side. He was in my immediate personal space.

"His action was always going to beat my reaction, if I let him beat my next move.

"Then a colleague fired a shot. Mr Amman remained standing, I saw no visible reaction from him, nothing at all, the threat was still there. So I fired a second shot."

Amman fell to the ground and was later pronounced dead.

Security on Amman, who was raised in Coventry and Birmingham before moving to Harrow in North West London, was beefed up after he was seen buying Irn Bur, parcel tape and kitchen foil on January 31.

In the attack two days later he was found to have worn an explosive device replica made out of those items.

Previously, the inquest heard he had been released from prison despite indicating he wanted to kill the Queen and commit jihad, and had previously developed behavioural issues.

The inquest continues.