Parents of London Bridge attack victim, 21, recall horror of her death amid inquest
The parents who lost their daughter in the London Bridge attacks have spoken out following an inquest into the night of the attacks, which took place on June 3rd 2017.
Julie Willis, mother of Sara Zalenak, said she felt as though she was going to have a 'heart attack' when she found out her 21-year-old daughter had been killed in the terror attack, which left eight people dead and more injured.
Australian nanny Sara, who had been working as an au pair in London while travelling in Europe, had been due to meet her parents in Paris just weeks later on June 30th but never made the trip.
Speaking about the moment she found out her daughter was dead, Julia said: "I thought I was going to have a heart attack.
"I was actually on the plane with my seatbelt on and I couldn't breathe - I was just buckled over and I just went into shock.
She added: "They actually wanted to get it on the six o'clock news so we were actually one of the last ones to find out she had died, and it was really horrible circumstances. It was horrendous."
Speaking of their final Face Time call with her on the night of the attack, her mum said: "She was the happiest she'd ever been, she was doing all the things a 21-year-old should do.
"We were counting down the days to having a family holiday and spending time with her in Paris on the 30th of June."
Sara had been due to work on the night of the attacks but after being given the night off she decided to go to London Bridge on a night out with her friend.
Initially she was listed as a missing person, before DNA confirmed she was one of the eight victims who had died that night.
Now two years later, the grieving parents are back in London for a public inquest into the attacks.
Sara's stepfather Mark praised the Metropolitan police for their help to piece together the events of the night.
"We have a little more understanding about her movements that night," he said.
"The Metropolitan police have been incredible, we had them in our house last October and in April to share the information.
Mark added: "They shared everything to us prior to it becoming public in the courts.
"Working with the courts it's raw emotion again for us, but now that we've gone through that and Sara has been dealt with there is a little bit of closure for us."
Sara's parents have now set up a charity in her memory, called Sarz Sanctuary, which
provides support to those suffering from traumatic grief as a result of a sudden or violent death.
The non-for-profit organisation offer five-day wellness retreats for those grieving, in addition their Meet you in Paris annual bike ride - a seven day event which sees bikers ride from Borough Market to the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Speaking about the charity, Julie said: "Sara can't die in vein, we need to find a positive out of what's happened here, and also support for the other seven families who were affected by that attack."