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Nurse known as the ‘Angel of London Bridge’ gave her life to help others in London terror attack, inquest hears

On June 3, 2017, three terrorists used a van to plough into pedestrians on London Bridge. They then used 12in knives to attack and kill eight people before being shot dead by police. But what is only now becoming clear is the heroism displayed by people confronted by the murderous attackers. Here are some of the stories from that night as told to an inquest that is ongoing in London.

Australian nurse Kirsty Boden, 28, has become known as the Angel of London Bridge for her selflessness that night. The Daily Mail reported that Boden, who fatefully was seated at the last available table at the popular eatery Boro Bistro, was telling two friends how excited she was to be a bridesmaid at a friend’s wedding.

Those friends looked on when the nurse at Guy’s Hospital in London stood up from their table when the attackers first crashed their van into railings above the eatery. She thought there had been an accident.

“Kirsty jumped up and said ‘I’m a nurse. I have to go and help. I need to see if they need help’,” Melanie Schroeder said of her dead friend. “Kirsty headed off and I thought nothing of it. The next thing I remember was hearing screaming and thinking to myself ‘calm the f— down it’s just a crash’.”

But it wasn’t just a crash. After the van hit the railings the attackers emerged and began stabbing anyone in sight.


This combination of handout pictures made on June 8, 2017, shows the eight victims of the June 3, 2017, terror attack on London Bridge and Borough Market.

AFP/Getty Images

The Mail reported how, when the knifemen entered the restaurant and attacked waiter Alexandre Pigeard, Boden didn’t hesitate. When she reached the stricken Frenchman — after first putting a hand in the air to warn her friends not to do the same — she was hacked to death. The tip of a 12-inch knife was found in her skull.

Her friend Schroeder said she fled the restaurant like other diners, as furniture was sent flying. When she returned, a scene of horror awaited.

“As I was walking back to the Boro Bistro I saw Kirsty lying on the corner. I recognized the person lying in the floor as Kirsty because of her bright pink cardigan. I screamed ‘Kirsty’ and ran down the alleyway,” she said.

Boden, gravely injured, couldn’t talk. Along with a doctor who had also been at the restaurant, Schroeder gave her friend CPR but to no avail, the Mail reported.

“She was still. There was no movement. She looked like her eyes were open just staring,” doctor Saira Khan said, adding that she went on with CPR at the desperate request of Schroeder, but Boden was dead minutes after the chaos had begun.

“She loved people and loved her life helping others. To Kirsty, her actions that night would have been an extension of how she lived her life,” her boyfriend James Hodder told the hearing.

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This photo made available by Isabel Echeverria shows an image of Ignacio Echeverria.

Isabel Echeverria via AP

Ignacio Echeverria from Spain was murdered after he tried to beat the terrorists away.

Echeverria, 39, who worked for banking group HSBC, used his skateboard in a last-ditch attempt at protecting himself and others. Chief Coroner Mark Lucraft said his, “courageous efforts were to seek to stop the attack.”

With two unarmed policemen, the Spaniard helped Marie Bondeville who, along with her boyfriend Oliver Dowling, suffered numerous stab wounds at Lobos Meat and Tapas restaurant. Bondeville and Dowling both survived.

Bondeville told the hearing one attacker first approached her like a boxer readying for a fight. Soon, both she and her boyfriend had fallen to the floor badly wounded.

My job at that stage was to hold on and keep them fighting until the cavalry arrived

“I kept looking at Oliver,” Bondeville said. “I thought he was dead. I was begging for them to stop and calling for help saying ‘please please’. The punches just came again and again and again.”

“I just knew the more I begged the more they attacked me because I was still alive. I recall thinking they were trying to cut my head off.” Eventually, Bondeville played dead. She had suffered 18 stab wounds, but somehow lived.

Wayne Marques, a transport police officer, faced all three of the attackers in one go, using his baton and bracing himself for the worst.

“My job at that stage was to hold on and keep them fighting until the cavalry arrived,” Sky News reported him as saying. “I just sucked in as much as I could as if I was going in for a fight.”

Marques was stabbed as his charges on the attackers distracted them from Bondeville, Dowling and Richard Livett, another survivor.

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Christine Archibald with fiancee Tyler Ferguson.

Supplied

Christine “Chrissy” Archibald, 30, a British Columbia native, kissed her fiance and told him “I love you” moments before she was murdered on London Bridge.

Archibald went to university in Calgary before moving to Europe to be with her fiancé, Tyler Ferguson.

The Daily Telegraph reported Ferguson telling the inquest: “We decided to walk over London Bridge. At one point Chrissy stopped me out of nowhere, gave me a passionate kiss and told me she loved me.

“Then the attack happened and Chrissy was killed.”

The social worker died in his arms.

Ferguson described his partner as “my everything” and said she was “the most caring human being that I have ever met”.

Archibald’s engagement ring was lost in the aftermath of the atrocity, but later recovered from the bridge. Ferguson now wears it on a chain around his neck.

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Australian Sara Zelenak, who died in the terror attack on London Bridge.

Handout

Sara Zelenak, an Australian au pair, was on the “trip of a lifetime” to the UK, her mother told the hearing, the Mail reported. On the fateful night, a number of “sliding door” moments put her daughter in danger, she said.

Julie Wallace said of her daughter: “She was meant to be working and at the last minute she got the night off. At 10 p.m. Sara’s phone rang and her friend said ‘I’ve finished at the rugby’ and so she left her safe haven and walked out into a terrorist attack and was stabbed to death.”

The inquest earlier heard how online entrepreneur James McMullan, 32, tried to help Zelenak as she struggled in her high heels to get away from attackers. Zelenak fell and McMullan reached down to help her up. It was enough time for the knifemen to pounce.

The pair had “no chance” to escape and died, the hearing was told.


Floral tributes lay in Potters Fields Park following the June 3rd terror attack on June 6, 2017 in London, England.

Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Nurse Helen Kennett was drinking prosecco to celebrate her birthday in Boro Bistro when the van crashed and she ran to help. As she arrived on the scene the terrorists were knifing people and she realized it was an attack. The Daily Mail reported that she told the inquest, “I looked up at the attacker. I did exchange words with him. I looked at him and I said: ‘What’s wrong with you?’

“He immediately looked at me and said: ‘No, what’s wrong with you.’ Before I could process what was happening he stabbed me in the neck on the left side.

The BBC reported that she described the attacker as having an “empty,” “soulless” and “evil” look in his eyes.

“I was convinced I was going to die but I didn’t want to die there,” the BBC reported her as saying. “I wanted to die round the corner with my family.”

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