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Victim came ‘nose to nose’ with attacker

Image caption Richard Livett described how he was rescued after coming face to face with one of the attackers

The first person stabbed in the London Bridge attack has described how he came “nose to nose” with Khuram Butt, who shouted “Allahu Akbar” in his face before stabbing him in the back.

Richard Livett, who had been out watching football, first thought he had witnessed an accident when he saw a van crash into railings on June 3, 2017.

He told an inquest he went to check on the occupants.

But in a “split second”, his attacker’s face was “an inch or so off”, he said.

“I felt what I thought initially was a punch in the back, which turned out to be him flailing his arm around the back of me and stabbing me,” Mr Livett told the hearing at London’s Old Bailey.

He said that after looking at photographs, he could identify the man as Khuram Butt, one of the three attackers.

Mr Livett said after he was attacked, he slumped on the ground for a few seconds before deciding to get up and move away.

“It was chaos all around. I was aware of screaming and shouting and people around me,” he said.

“I think it was a personal mission to get help as quickly as I possibly could. I realised it was quite a serious blow I had taken.”

He went on to describe how he felt weak before he collapsed and banged on the locked door of the nearby Globe Tavern.

Some people, including a soldier and an off-duty doctor, came to his aid before he was helped back towards the bridge to receive medical attention, chief coroner Mark Lucraft QC was told.

Another witness, Jack Baxter, told how he saw French-born waiter Alexandre Pigeard, 26, running and holding his neck near Borough Market’s Boro Bistro, where he worked.

“He had somebody else running to his right,” he said.

“They were both running, looking at each other almost in shock at what happened and screaming to each other like ‘what’s going on?'”

Image caption French-born waiter Mr Pigeard, left, and chef Mr Belanger, also from France, were both killed in the attack

He told the Old Bailey that he then saw a man, now identified as 36-year-old chef Sebastien Belanger, who was cornered by three knifeman in an archway before being stabbed.

Asked how the attackers were behaving, he said that they looked to be acting as a team and appeared to have been trained.

The inquest into the deaths of eight victims has also been hearing from Rasak Kalenikanse, the doorman at the Barrowboy and Banker pub next to where the van crashed.

Mr Kalenikanse broke down in tears as he described seeing the three attackers standing with knives, while dead and injured people lay around them.

He said he heard one of them say: “We are doing these things in the cause of Allah, you unbelievers.”

Moment of respite

BBC reporter Alice Evans, at the inquest

Much of the inquest today has focused on witnesses’ desperate attempts to save those who were wounded.

This afternoon Philippe Pigeard listened as a waiter described the moment he found his son, Alexandre Pigeard, mortally wounded on a walkway in the Borough Market area.

Dervish Gashi, a waiter at the nearby Cafe Brood, became upset when an image was shown to the court of the bloodied path where he found Mr Pigeard.

He wiped a shaky hand across his forehead as he described frantically searching for a pulse.

During some of his evidence, Mr Pigeard’s father closed his eyes with a pained expression on his face.

As Mr Gashi stepped out of the witness box, the bereaved father jumped out of his seat and approached him.

He whispered something in his ear and extended his hand out. They shook hands before enveloping in a spontaneous embrace.

The gesture of goodwill and solidarity was a brief moment of respite from the graphic narratives that have dominated this inquest.

The inquest also heard how three members of the public spent more than half an hour trying to save Mr Belanger after he was stabbed.

Craig Smith and his girlfriend, Emma Thompson, were joined by Lisa Deacon, who told how she had been given first aid training a few weeks before the attack.

Mr Smith said the chef was initially conscious but became unresponsive as he tried to stop him from bleeding.

They were later joined by two police officers who helped them give CPR to Mr Belanger while also keeping watch in case the attackers returned.

After 22:45 BST they brought Mr Belanger out to paramedics in Borough High Street.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48265133

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