Witnesses have described how they fought back against the ‘brain dead’ jihadi knifemen who stabbed one woman ’10 or 15 times’ during their murderous rampage.
Pedestrians were mowed down by a van on London Bridge on Saturday night before attackers stabbed a police officer and revellers around Borough Market with 12-inch knives.
Killers ran into the Wheatsheaf pub and the Black & Blue steakhouse restaurant. They also tried to enter The Southwark Tavern and Market Porter pubs and knifed a man standing outside The Globe.
After ploughing into pedestrians on London Bridge the three attackers, wearing fake suicide vests, walked into the heart of Borough Market randomly slashing at revellers with their hunting knives.
Three jihadi terrorists were shot dead by armed police after killing seven people and injuring at least 48 more during a horrific knife rampage in central London on Saturday night
Witnesses described seeing the ‘blank looking’ jihadis repeatedly stabbing innocent victims in ‘completely chaotic’ scenes that left the market area resembling a ‘war-zone’.
Some tried to fight back against the maniacs by throwing whatever they could find at them – chairs, bottles and tables – while some tackled the men with only their bare hands.
Gerard Vowls, 47, a construction worker, had been watching the Champions League final at the Ship pub in Borough.
He said he followed the men as they went towards a Natwest branch and watched in horror as they stabbed a woman, thought to be in her twenties, ‘ten or fifteen times’.
He recalled: ‘All three of them were on the one woman. One went, ‘This is for Allah’. They went on stabbing her. She was going, ‘Help me, help me”.
The three jihadis seemed ‘brain dead’, he said.
‘They just looked blank. They were in another frame of mind. They just didn’t care who they killed. They looked organised. They knew what they wanted to do, and it was to stab people. They just wouldn’t stop.’
He first tried to distract the men by throwing a bicycle at them. The three men then ran off towards Borough Market.
‘They got as far as the Globe [pub] and some guy came round the corner saying, ‘Run, run, run, they’ve got knives. They’re terrorists. They’re going to kill you.’ But he was too late. They got to him. He got stabbed as well.’
Gerard Vowls, 47, a Crossrail worker, followed the trio, pelting them with bottles and chairs and yelling warnings to diners and drinkers
Speaking on ITV’s This Morning Mr Vowls recalled the terrifying scenes on Saturday night
The horrifying attack then continued around the market.
He added: ‘I saw a doorman at one of the pubs – I think the Southwark Tavern – had been stabbed as well, he was on the floor.
‘I saw them trying to force their way into restaurants, and I was just trying to warn people, shouting, ‘Terrorist cowards!’. They came towards me again and I threw a stool at them. As this was happening the police were just driving by. They were driving to where the van had crashed.
‘So I picked up bottles, pint glasses and stools. I was chucking everything at them, and shouting to warn people. I thought if I could just get them to follow me, I could get them to the main road so the police would shoot them.
The rented van used by the attackers pictured near the Barrowboy and Banker pub, where it was abandoned shortly after 10pm on Saturday night
‘The men went into the restaurant Black & Blue, where they stabbed a couple. They stabbed the man in the stomach. I heard them both groan.
‘I ran towards the bridge to get the police but just as I was running back with them I heard three bangs – all of them had been shot.
‘I knew they didn’t have real bombs, as I could see they were held together with duct tape instead of wires. They were just wearing normal clothes, with Muslim-style beards. They looked like they had no fear. They knew exactly what they were doing. They were trying to kill as many people as they could.
‘They looked like they were on another planet. Their eyes looked evil, an aggressive angry look. I was shouting ‘Oi, terrorists, cowards’ to try and distract them.
‘I just wanted to help save some lives. I am not a hero, just a normal guy. People have got to know what they did – the families of the victims should know.’
At The Globe pub, Lewis Bennett, 39, said everyone gasped when one of the maniacs, dressed in a black robe, stabbed someone outside the pub.
He said: ‘He was shouting ‘Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar’ [‘God is great’ in Arabic] and he had a British accent. Blood was dripping from his blade.’
The manager of The Globe, named only as Duncan, pulled everyone inside the pub, locked the doors to the bar and took all the customers and police upstairs to the restaurant.
This graphic shows the timeline of horror on Saturday night, that saw seven people murdered
A bouncer, Ozzy, a father-of-one, witnessed the carnage outside the Wheatsheaf pub.
Speaking to The Sun, he said: ‘Me and a few of the doormen went to see what had happened. We saw three guys in camouflage trousers stabbing this woman. They were all surrounding her and knifing her repeatedly…about ten times.
‘They suddenly looked up and started running towards other individuals.’
Forced to fight the terrorists with his bare hands, he added: ‘Me and another guy started launching bar stools, bottles and glasses at them to try and disrupt them. It was completely chaotic, like a war zone. They ran through the barrage and we deflected them and they literally ran straight into the cops, who shot them.’
Seven people were killed in brutal terror attack on London Bridge. Pictured above, the devastating scene as bystanders and emergency workers tried to save the injured
Geoff Ho, a business editor at the Sunday Express, was badly hurt after trying to help a bouncer at the Southwark Tavern.
He was pictured shirtless and bleeding heavily from the neck as he was helped into an ambulance.
He said on social media that he did not know ‘whether it was stupid or noble to jump in’, but he was not going to let two people attack a lone bouncer.
Writing on Twitter today, he said: ‘Thank you every one for the best wishes. I got out of surgery yesterday and am on the mend.’
Outside the nearby Southwark Tavern, more people were being knifed. A witness called Ben said: ‘I saw a man in red with a large blade stabbing a man about three times.
‘He was being stabbed quite coldly and he slumped to the ground.’
A witness, namely only as Alex, had been drinking in the Mudlark pub when he saw the carnage unfold.
He recalled: ‘A woman probably in her early 20s staggered into the pub and she was bleeding heavily from the neck and from her mouth. It appeared to myself and to my friends that her throat had been cut.
‘People went to her aid. The pub was then closed. We saw police on the roads nearby. As we were told to leave the area by armed police, as we were running away from there, I could see to my left there was a further individual having CPR performed on them by the emergency services.’
Jeff Whitsey, 54, who was also in the pub, said the woman was ‘seriously injured.’
He added: ‘It was a very deep cut. There was blood everywhere…blood was spurting out. It was awful. Absolutely awful.’
Forensic officers were seen circling blood splatter and bagging pieces of evidence as they scoured London Bridge
ATTACK HAD HALLMARKS OF LEE RIGBY MURDER
The barbarity and savage nature of the attack had hallmarks of the brutal murder of Lee Rigby, the 25-year-old soldier who was mown down by a car and then hacked to death by two extremists using meat cleavers and knives on May 22, 2013.
Michael Adebowale, 25, was jailed for 45 years and his 32-year-old accomplice Michael Adebolajo was jailed for life for killing the off-duty soldier near his barracks in Woolwich, South East London.
Rigby was both a drummer and machine-gunner in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and was originally from Middleton, Greater Manchester. He had served in Cyprus, Germany and Afghanistan before becoming a recruiter and assisting with duties at the Tower of London.
Florin Morariu, a Romanian who works at Bread Ahead in the market, hit one terrorist with a basket and ‘knocked him out’.
He recalled: ‘Everyone was running, people, women, they were fainting.’
He then let about 20 people into the bakery and closed to shutters to keep the terrorists away.
Alex Martinez, a barman at the El Pastor restaurant, jumped into a bin to hide from the murderous men.
He said: ‘I saw [a] man with a knife in his hand and after that a man started screaming so I knew something wrong was happening.
‘The man started screaming and dropping everything on the floor – the plates, the cutlery, the bottle, everything.’
A chef from Fish restaurant told The Guardian: ‘I saw two men with big knives downstairs outside Roast. They were stabbing people. The police were running away, they were normal officers, they were running away.
‘The guy with the knife was killing two people. We were shouting ‘stop, stop’ and people threw chairs at them.’
Marco Paini, 43, was eating with his wife and friends at Elliot’s café in Borough Market when a terrorist knifed a waitress across her neck.
He said: ‘I thought that was it — I thought our lives were over.’
In Elliot’s restaurant, waitress Candice Hedge had just finished her shift and was relaxing at the bar with her boyfriend when the knifemen marched in. They stabbed the 31-year-old Australian in the throat. Clutching her bleeding neck, she stumbled around before falling into a coma.
Last night she was recovering in hospital, and even wrote on Facebook: ‘Bit of pain, but I will survive.’
Witnesses fled in terror from the three jihadi knifemen who attacked on Saturday night
RECENT TERROR ATTACKS IN THE UK
:: July 7, 2005 – 7/7 London bombings
Four Islamist extremist suicide bombers target commuters on Tube trains and a double-decker bus during the morning rush hour, killing 52 innocent people and injuring 700.
:: June 29-30, 2007 – London and Glasgow attacks
Terrorists leave scar bombs outside a nightclub and in a street in London’s West End, but they fail to go off. The next day they drive a Jeep Cherokee loaded with cans of propane into the entrance of Glasgow Airport at 30mph, suffering severe burns and injuring five members of the public.
:: May 22, 2013 – Woolwich attack
A British soldier, Fusilier Lee Rigby, 25, is murdered in an attack in Woolwich, South-Wast London, by two Islamist extremists armed with a handgun and a meat cleaver.
:: December 5, 2015 – Leytonstone Tube stabbing
A Somali-born schizophrenic attempts to behead a passenger during an Islamic State-inspired rampage in the ticket hall of Leytonstone Underground station in East London, shouting, ‘this is for Syria’.
:: March 22, 2017 – Westminster Bridge attack
A lone terrorist mows down pedestrians as he speeds down Westminster bridge in a car, killing four and crashing into the perimeter fence of the Palace of Westminster, where he stabs an unarmed police officer to death.
:: May 22, 2017 – Manchester Arena bombing
A suicide attacker detonates a nail bomb, killing 22, including children as young as eight, and injuring 120 as music fans leave an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
:: June 3, 2017 – London Bridge and Borough Market attacks
Three terrorists in a hired van smash into pedestrians on London Bridge before abandoning the vehicle and going on a knife rampage attacking people enjoying meals and drinks in Borough Market, killing at least seven and leaving 21 in a critical decision.
At another restaurant, El Pastor, Giovanni Sagristani, 38, and his friends had been enjoying their dinner when one of the jihadis stormed in and stabbed a woman in the chest.
‘He came in shouting and just stabbed her,’ he said.
Mr Sagristani’s partner Carlos Pinto, 33 – who works as a critical care nurse in London – attended to the woman, with the help of his friend, another nurse.
‘They took some ice and cloths and tried to stop the bleeding. She lost half a litre of blood in the beginning. He was keeping pressure on the wound,’ Mr Sagristani said.
Renan Marquese, a sous-chef at Brindisa tapas restaurant, said he was working when he heard chaotic sounds outside.
‘When I open the door I see three dead people on the floor,’ he said. ‘People running everywhere, police shouting to run away.’
He said he helped a man and his partner, even taking the woman into his arms because she was too upset to walk properly.
He said it took him 20 minutes to carry her across the bridge, stumbling all the way.
‘It was really scary,’ he said.
Amid the violence and fear were stories of compassion and heroism.
An off-duty policeman tackled the jihadi knifemen with his bare hands. The constable, who plays rugby, was left with serious knife wounds.
Another officer, who only joined British Transport Police two years ago, took them on outside London Bridge station with his baton, and was stabbed in the face, head and leg.
There were also tales of heroism by London taxi drivers.
Student nurse Rhiannon Owen was at a cash point when a taxi driver shouted at her to run.
She said: ‘I saw him running towards where I was, he had a knife – about 12in, like a machete. I just ran.’
The 19-year-old, from Cheshire, saw the attacker behind her and ran into Applebee’s pub where she joined 30 or 40 others and took shelter in a stock room.
She said she owes her life to that taxi driver, and appealed for him to get in touch: ‘You saved my life and you let me go and make sure other people were safe.’
Police secured the area after the horrific scenes on Saturday night in the capital
A quick-thinking taxi driver called Chris tried to run over the killers in a desperate attempt to halt the atrocity. He said: ‘Three men got out of the van with blades 12in long, and went along Borough High Street stabbing people at random.
‘I saw a young girl stabbed in the chest. I said to the guy in my cab I was going to try and hit him. I spun the cab round, I was about to ram one, but he side-stepped me.’
A taxi driver, Aksha Patel, said later that one of his passengers, an unnamed woman, had courageously blocked the door of the Black & Blue restaurant to delay the attackers’ entrance, allowing many people to get to safety.
By the time the three attackers left the restaurant, they were less than a minute from being shot dead.
The three men, wearing fake suicide bomb vests, were shot dead by eight officers outside a pub after police opened fire with an ‘unprecedented’ hail of 50 bullets, while a bystander was also shot. ISIS have claimed responsibility for the attack.
During the night of terror, seven people were killed and 21 are in a serious condition in hospital.
There are 48 people recovering in hospitals across the capital.
A vigil will be held on Monday evening near London Bridge in honour of the victims of the attack, which took place at around 10pm, while a minute’s silence will take place at 11am on Tuesday.
The first victim of the attack has been named as Canadian national Christine Archibald, who worked in a homeless shelter until she moved to Europe to be with her fiance.