UK

London Bridge attack police officer shouted 'shoot him'

Khuram Butt Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption PC Tim Andrews pointed out Khuram Butt as the ringleader to armed police officers

A police officer has told an inquest how he shouted at armed police to shoot the ringleader in the final moments of the 2017 London Bridge attack.

PC Tim Andrews pointed at Khuram Butt and shouted "shoot him!" after an armed response vehicle pulled up beside him.

He had been on duty with PC Bartosz Tchorzewski when reports came in of a van hitting pedestrians on the bridge.

He had thought it was a drink-drive incident until he saw men carrying knives. Eight died in the attack.

In just 10 minutes, Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, ploughed down pedestrians on the bridge and brought chaos to Borough Market, carrying knives and wearing fake suicide belts. As well as the eight who died, 48 people were seriously injured.

All three men were finally shot dead in Stoney Street, bringing the attack to an end.

Officers chased

An inquest is taking place at the Old Bailey into the deaths of the attackers who were killed by armed police officers. It is expected to go on for three weeks and, under law, must be heard by a jury.

At the hearing, jurors heard evidence from Antonio Filis, the last person to be attacked. He said he had no idea what was going on before one of the knifemen stared at him and came over.

"I raised my hands in defence and shouted something along the lines of 'oi, what are you doing?'.

"I felt a blow on my head. At first I thought it was a bottle but I had no idea it was a knife.

"I remember seeing two more people coming towards me.

"I felt I was being pushed around so I found myself on the ground curled up with my hands over my head."

He then described hearing what sounded to him like fireworks going off in quick succession as the three men were shot.

After the attack, a police officer helped him to the Globe pub where he realised he had been stabbed in the body as well as the head.

Giving evidence, PC Andrews told how he and his colleagues had tried to chase down the attackers, first running towards Bedale Street where members of the public were pointing and shouting: "They've gone down there."

As the officers walked down Middle Road, they came across the three men, the court heard.

"Butt had a football shirt on and he was standing with two knives in either hand," PC Andrews said. "The other two gentlemen... were in dark clothes also with knives.

"Then it dawned on me it was probably a terrorist attack. I pressed my emergency button and asked for emergency assistance, firearms support."

Jurors visit Borough Market

Image copyright PA Media

By Daniel Sandford, BBC home affairs correspondent

Among the early morning bustle of Borough Market - porters wheeling barrows of vegetables, tourists being shown one of London's most atmospheric spots - a group of people emerged clutching maps and photographs.

It was the chief coroner and the jury from the inquest into the deaths of the London Bridge attackers.

His Honour Judge Lucraft QC showed the jurors the narrow streets and alleys, saying he wanted them to get an impression of what the place was like.

They saw some of the pubs and bars where Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba stabbed their victims.

Then they examined the spot where the three men were shot dead by armed police, and the spot where the officers' armed response vehicle had rolled into tables and chairs. In his hurry to get out, the armed officer who was driving had not put the handbrake on.

The officers, who were in plain clothes and armed only with batons, backed away but were chased by the three men.

PC Andrews said his partner was hit by a missile but by the time they got back to Bedale Street the attackers had disappeared so they resumed their search.

He said they found Butt in nearby Stoney Street with the other two, repeatedly stabbing a man.

"We started to close them down to assist the gentleman," he added.

He said he was about 10 metres away when an armed response vehicle pulled up and a firearms officer got out of the passenger door, holding his firearm.

'Cuff him'

"I was pointing at Butt shouting, 'shoot him! shoot him!'" PC Andrews said.

"Butt started to close the officer down. The officer pulled the weapon up and shot him a number of times."

PC Andrews said Butt had been running at the police marksman with "hands raised in a threatening manner".

He said the officer had shouted "armed police" before opening fire.

Butt fell to the ground and the officer shouted to PC Andrews "cuff him, cuff him", jurors were told.

He said: "He was making some noises and moving slightly. I put the cuffs straight on. I looked down and could see a bomb belt around his waist."

PC Andrews said that at the time he thought it was real and shouted that everyone needed to get back.

PC Ian Rae, another officer at the scene, told jurors his attention was drawn to the other attackers who had been shot.

He said: "I ran over to the one that was moving because I knew he had an IED (improvised explosive device) strapped to him by that time. I could see it."

He went to handcuff the man but an armed officer screamed at him to get out of the way, he said.

Rudi Thirion, who had been holding the Wheatsheaf pub door shut as the attackers tried to force their way in, told jurors he heard screams of "drop your weapons, get to the ground".

He said the knifemen were "definitely in attacking mode" as they ran towards the blue police lights.

"I saw two of them get shot. I did not see the third one get shot. I must have ducked down to take cover," he added.

The inquest continues.