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  1. ITV Report

Heroic London Bridge victim used skateboard to fight terrorist

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Sejal Karia

A Spanish banker “didn’t even think” before using his skateboard to fight off a London Bridge terrorist who looked “like the devil”, an inquest has heard.

Ignacio Echeverria, 39, was knifed to death in an attack lasting less than five seconds as he stepped in to help protect Marie Bondeville, who was being repeatedly stabbed on the floor.

He was one of eight people killed after Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, launched a van and knife attack on June 3, 2017.

Spaniard Mr Echeverria, who worked as a financial crime analyst at HSBC, had been skateboarding with friends before cycling past the attackers on a Santander bike.

  • CCTV footage shows Mr Echeverria, in the middle of three, cycle by the attack

CCTV footage played in court showed him swinging his skateboard at Redouane before the attacker lunged with his knife, sending him to the ground.

Zaghba is seen standing over Mr Echeverria, trying to stab him, as the victim uses his skateboard to parry the blows before Redouane’s 12in blade appears to connect with the left side of his torso.

Mr Echeverria was posthumously honoured by the Queen at Buckingham Palace for his bravery.

CCTV still showing Ignacio Echeverria cycling towards London Bridge just before the attack Credit: Met Police

His friend, Guillermo Sanchez-Montisi, said in a statement read at the Old Bailey: “It was like he didn’t even think about it, but reacted immediately.

“He was to the right side of that group, hitting the attackers with his skateboard.”

Mr Sanchez-Montisi said there was a woman, now known to be Marie Bondeville, on the floor being stabbed repeatedly.

“From the way they were attacking people it was clear that their intentions were to kill everyone,” he said.

“He wanted to kill her. The girl was screaming and it was terrifying.”

Ignacio Echeverria swung his skateboard at Rachid Redouane. Credit: Met Police

The inquest has heard how Mr Echeverria got off his bike and joined unarmed Pc Wayne Marques and off-duty Pc Charlie Guenigault to help protect Ms Bondeville and Oliver Dowling, who was also injured in the attack.

Mr Sanchez-Montisi said: “One of the attackers was covering his head as Ignacio was hitting him with the skateboard.

“I could hear the sound of the skateboard hitting, then suddenly Ignacio was on the floor.”

He said his friend held his skateboard to protect himself before one of the attackers stabbed him.

“I saw him stab Ignacio deeply into his side or the back as he was on the floor,” he said.

“I saw how the knife disappeared into my friend as he lay on the floor with his skateboard on top of him. This was the first time I saw the knife.”

Victims of the London Bridge terrorist attack (top row left to right) Christine Archibald, James McMullan, Alexandre Pigeard, Sebastien Belanger, (bottom row left to right) Kirsty Boden, Sara Zelenak, Xavier Thomas and Ignacio Echeverria Credit: Met Police/PA

Mr Sanchez-Montisi said he thought he would also be stabbed as one of the attackers “looked straight at me” as he came towards him, but managed to escape after throwing something in the way.

“When he was looking at me, his face, he looked like the devil,” he added.

“It was very painful to leave my friend but we were going to be next.”

Mr Sanchez-Montisi said the terror attack was the “craziest situation” he had ever seen.

“They were killing everyone, even the policemen. They were stabbing everyone everywhere they saw people,” he said.

“They looked prepared, professional and they were stood ready to attack. They knew what they were doing and they didn’t care.”

Xavier Thomas, 45, Christine Archibald, 30, Sara Zelenak, 21, Sebastien Belanger, 36, James McMullan, 32, Kirsty Boden, 28, and Alexandre Pigeard, 26, were also killed in the atrocity, which was brought to an end in less than 10 minutes when the attackers were shot.

  • Junior doctor begged restaurant to let him help victims

The inquest also heard an off-duty junior doctor begged to be allowed out of a restaurant to help victims stabbed in the London Bridge attack, saying "I can't watch them die".

Dr Jonathan Moses, who graduated a year-and-a-half before the terrorists struck, told the inquest he heard people "shouting and screaming" as he ate dinner with a friend.

"I could hear people saying, 'Oh God, oh God, help, help, they've been stabbed, they've been stabbed'," he said while giving evidence.

The medic, who had four months' experience working in a hospital Accident and Emergency department, said he could see two people lying on the pavement outside from the upstairs window of Lobos in Borough High Street.

"I immediately wanted to help so I ran," he said. "I told my friend, 'I'm going outside to help'.

"I ran down the stairs. The restaurant, the place was in a panic - people running away from the door, people screaming.

"I made my way to the door, spoke to a member of staff at the restaurant. He was standing by the door keeping guard.

"I said, 'You have to let me out, I'm a doctor.' He said, 'There's people being attacked, I can't let you out'.

"I said, 'I can't watch them die. You have to let me out and just lock the door after me to keep people safe'."

The key locations. Credit: PA

Dr Moses said he went outside to help and found a man and woman lying on the ground. The man was not moving but the woman was moving and screaming, he said.

The doctor said he saw other injured people had help around them so decided to go to the woman.

"I initially thought this was a mugging or gang attack. She kept saying she's going to die. She's going to die.

"I held her hand. I told her, 'You are not going to die. I'm going to save you. You are going to be OK'."

Dr Moses said after about four or five minutes he moved on to treat Ignacio Echeverria, 39, as he could see the man performing CPR on him was not doing it properly.

The inquest heard Dr Moses continued to give CPR until Mr Echeverria was pronounced dead at 10.58pm, about 50 minutes after he had left the restaurant. He then went on to treat other casualties.

The inquest continues.