Stories of Heroism Heard During London Bridge Attack Inquest

TOPSHOT - A man stands near flowers layed at Potters Fields Park in London on June 5, 2017, after a vigil to commemorate the victims of the terror attack on London Bridge and at Borough Market that killed seven people on June 3. London police made a fresh round of …
CHRIS J RATCLIFFE/AFP/Getty

Stories of heroism amidst tragedy have been heard by the inquest into the London Bridge terror attacks, including a man who threw chairs and pint glasses at the attackers and another who tackled the terrorists with his skateboard.

In one incident, Ignacio Echeverría, 39, charged towards one of the terrorists “swinging his skateboard” after witnessing a woman being stabbed just moments earlier on Borough High Street.

“He didn’t even think about it,” his friend Guillermo Sanchez-Montisi, who saw “one of the attackers covering his head as Ignacio was hitting him”, told the Old Bailey.

Echeverría was sadly one of the eight people who lost their lives in the attack, being stabbed to death by the terrorists shortly after his heroic action to slow or stop the attack.

Mr Sanchez-Montisi described the Islamists’ terrifying rampage, saying: “From the way that they were attacking people, it was clear that their intentions were to kill everyone.”

In another instance, a man named Gerard Vowls, 49, who told the court “I heard one of them say This is for Allah”, threw pint glasses, bottles, chairs, and tables at the terrorists, trying to distract their attention and force them towards the area where police officers were located.

He said the attackers “were jogging, looking left and right, looking for victims so they could attack them”. Mr Vowls shouted “you cowards, you c**ts, come and get me,” and followed them while shouting warnings to other members of the public.

A third man, Geoffrey Ho, a financial journalist, was having drinks with friends after watching the Champions League final. He saw the attackers enter the restaurant he was in but as other customers fled he tried to reason with the attackers, saying “you don’t have to do this”.

Mr Ho opted against attacking the terrorists as one of them was wearing a fake suicide belt made of metal canisters. He said that at the time he thought, “if I rush him he may detonate and kill us all”. The inquest has also revealed that despite being already handcuffed, one of the attackers was shot dead by police because of suicide vest fears.

Sadly, Mr Ho’s attempts to diffuse the situation were ignored and he was stabbed repeatedly before retreating to the staff room of the restaurant and locking himself inside. He was later found by police and has now recovered from his injuries.

One of the most chilling aspects of the inquest so far has been the description of the attackers. Mr Ho described one of the terrorists as being “like an animal, he just wanted to kill people, there was rage, his eyes were full of rage, murder, and rage.”

While Mr Sanchez-Montisi said: “They looked evil looking, not human looking, the expression in the eyes… hatred.” Witness Simon Edwards, who was hit in the head by fragments caused by police shooting the terrorists dead, described the attackers as being like “a pack of wolves”.

Rachid Redouane, Youssef Zaghba, and Khuram Butt slaughtered eight people and injured 48 more in the vicious attack carried out with knives and the ramming of a car into pedestrians in June 2017.  They were later shot dead by police. The inquest at the Old Bailey is currently ongoing.

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