London Bridge inquest: Bullet ‘centimetres’ from witness

London Bridge inquest: Bullet 'centimetres' from witness

Police officers respond to the London Bridge attack

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A bullet missed a man by centimetres as police fired on the London Bridge attackers, an inquest has heard.

Simon Edwards was in the Wheatsheaf pub in Borough Market when police shot dead the three knife-wielding assailants outside, the Old Bailey heard.

The inquest into the deaths of their eight victims was shown a CCTV image of the moment a stray shot came through the pub window close to Mr Edwards.

The bullet hit a man behind Mr Edwards in the head, seriously injuring him.

Giving evidence to the inquest, Mr Edwards said a friend of his rushed to give first aid to that man, Neil McLellan, and he survived.

Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, killed eight people in the van and knife attack on the evening of 3 June 2017.

Police shot and killed the attackers less than 10 minutes after the violence began.

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Image caption

Khuram Butt tried to enter the Wheatsheaf pub in Borough Maket

Mr Edwards had actually just left the Wheatsheaf pub when he saw three armed men walking towards him, he told the court.

He said people were screaming and his wife Nicole dragged him back into the pub, where a member of staff locked the door.

Butt tried to enter the pub by forcing the door open.

He seemed “calm” and “determined”, Mr Edwards told the Old Bailey.

He said Butt had “canisters” strapped to him, which later turned out to be part of a fake suicide vest.

‘A pack of wolves’

by Harriet Agerholm, BBC News reporter, at the inquests

Simon Edwards had been out for a meal and then drinks with his wife and friends when the London Bridge attackers went on their murderous rampage.

Suspense grew in the courtroom as Mr Edwards described how Butt repeatedly tried to kick down the door of the Wheatsheaf pub as scared people hid inside.

All that secured the door was a single bolt at the top, and the bottom of it flexed with the force of his kicks, he said.

After failing to kick his way in, Butt began smashing the window panes surrounding the door with the handle of his knife, Mr Edwards said.

His voice shook as he told the Old Bailey that Butt only stopped when he saw Redouane and Zaghba set upon a man outside the pub

All three descended on the victim “like a pack of wolves”, Mr Edwards said in a statement.

Making a stabbing movement with his arm, Mr Edwards demonstrated how they knifed the man repeatedly, “trying to inflict as much injury as they could”.

While the attackers were stabbing the man in the street, the pub “filled with blue lights” as armed police arrived outside, Mr Edwards said.

He told the court there were several volleys of bullets and he dropped to his knees to take cover.

After noticing there was “quite a lot of blood” coming from Mr McLellan’s head, he opened the door to shout to police for medical help.

He discovered later that he too had been cut by shrapnel from the bullet.

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.

The inquests continue.

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