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 that PC Andrews and his colleagues ran towards Bedale Street where members of the public were pointing and shouting: “They’ve gone down there.”

As the officers walked down Middle Road to investigate, they came across the three attackers, 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.”

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Attackers Rachid Redouane, left, and Youssef Zaghba were also shot dead at the scene

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.

The officer told jurors: “Realising we lost sight, we turned round to go and find them again.”

They found Butt standing in the middle of nearby Stoney Street with the other two, attacking a man.

PC Andrews said: “They were stabbing him repeatedly. We started to close them down to assist the gentleman.”

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’

PC Andrews said: “I was pointing at Butt shouting, ‘shoot him! shoot him!’

“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.

The inquest continues.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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