Finsbury Park terror attack: Woman 'traumatised' after seeing her injured brother lying on ground

  • Video report by ITV News reporter Sejal Karia

A young woman has spoken of the "traumatising" experience of seeing her brother lying injured at the side of a road after being struck by a van in the north London terror attack.

Nassima Benaouda, 21, told ITV News she "couldn't believe it" when she saw her brother lying on the ground on Seven Sisters Road in Finsbury Park, after leaving a mosque to get food in the early hours of Monday morning.

In a tearful interview, she said: "He couldn't breath, he couldn't move, because he had injuries in his back and pelvic area.

"When I saw my brother I was traumatised, I couldn't believe it until I actually looked at him and said 'is it you?'.

"He said 'I'm fine, I'm fine, don't worry about me' but I could see he wasn't fine.

"He was finding it really hard to breath. I had to rip off his jacket, rip off his t-shirt, I had to give him water, put water all over him, just to calm him down.

"It was all traumatising."

The driver of the van was overpowered by onlookers after he fled the vehicle, before being arrested by police.

Nassima's friend Marwa Karkar, 22, who was with her at the time, said she heard people shouting "restrain him, restrain him".

A witness told Good Morning Britain that the van mounted the pavement as a man was being helped after falling ill.

The Metropolitan Police have confirmed that the man who died in the attack was already receiving first aid from members of the public and it is not yet known if his death was caused by the attack.

Speaking of the moment he died, Nassima, said: "One of them died on the scene. We saw him die on the scene, right in front of us.

"It was literally just beside my brother."

Marwa added: "It was the guy we were trying to do CPR on and after I did CPR, and the next person and then the police officers again and again, they were just unable to save his life."

The van attack near Finsbury Park Mosque follows warnings of an unprecedented anti-Muslim backlash after recent terrorist atrocities.

There is a huge police presence in Finsbury Park on Monday. Credit: PA

Police in London recorded a spike in the number of Islamophobic incidents in the wake of the London Bridge outrage earlier this month, with 20 recorded on June 6 - compared with a daily average of 3.5.

The two friends said they now feel unsafe in the north London neighbourhood.

"It's our local area, it's our local mosque, it's where we've grown up," said Marwa.

"The mosque for us is a peaceful place. It's a place of worship."

Nassima added: "To see that happen, it just makes you think, if that's happening where we're supposed to be safe, where is safe? You wouldn't know.

"So you could be walking and something can just happen to you, someone attack you out of the blue without even knowing."