Xavier Thomas, 45, died after he was hit by the terrorists’ van and catapulted into the Thames during the London Bridge terror attack. He was with his girlfriend, Christine Delcros (both pictured) at the time
The threat of a terror attack on London Bridge was ‘obvious’ and the authorities collectively failed in their duty to protect the public from harm, the inquest heard.
Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, mowed down and stabbed scores of victims before they were gunned down by police.
The Isis fanatics ploughed into crowds crossing the River Thames in a rented Renault van before launching a knife rampage in nearby Borough Market.
Armed with 12-inch kitchen knives and wearing fake suicide bomb vests, they murdered eight people and left 48 injured on June 3, 2017.
Dominic Adamson, representing the family of victim Xavier Thomas, 45, told the Old Bailey the attack on Westminster Bridge on March 22 was a ‘game changer’ and lessons should have been learned before the London Bridge rampage less than three months later.
‘The events on Westminster Bridge on 22 March were a game changer. The attack was on a bridge.
‘The reasons why a bridge would be an attractive location were the reasons identified by Police Constable Hone: it left those on the bridge with nowhere to go, and so this was an obvious threat to Londoners which ought to have been addressed swiftly and promptly.’
Isis fanatics ploughed into crowds crossing the River Thames in a rented Renault van (above) on June 3, 2017, before launching a knife rampage in nearby Borough Market
Dominic Adamson, representing the family of Xavier Thomas, told the Old Bailey the attack on Westminster Bridge on March 22 was a ‘game changer’ and lessons should have been learned before the London Bridge rampage (pictured) less than three months later
(Left to right) Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, mowed down and stabbed scores of victims in the London Bridge attack before they were gunned down by police
Mr Adamson said the authorities had failed in their Article 2 duty under the European Convention of Human Rights to protect life, missing multiple opportunities to prevent the attack.
‘The Article 2 duty imposes a positive obligation to take all appropriate steps to safeguard life and, above all, a primary duty on the state to place a legislative and administrative framework designed to provide effective deterrent against threats to life,’ he said.
Mr Adamson took issue with the Home Secretary’s submission that there was no duty to protect life on the bridge in the circumstances of this case.
‘The inevitable conclusion, we would submit, that you are driven to in this case is that the systems that were in place were, in fact, deficient.
This map shows the route the terrorists took as they murdered eight people in central London
‘The consequences of these failures was that London Bridge, we submit, for a prolonged period of time did not receive the attention that it deserved.’
‘It did not protect life in a way which can be viewed with the benefit of foresight, not with the benefit of hindsight, and we can say that with complete clarity and with complete certainty.’
‘There can be, we would submit, no doubt that this was an obvious threat.’
Mr Thomas, Christine Archibald, 30, Sebastien Belanger, 36, Kirsty Boden, 28, James McMullan, 32, Sara Zelenak, 21, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, and Ignacio Echeverría, 39, were all killed in the attack.
The inquest continues.
Christine Delcros (centre, with cane) is seen arriving last month at the inquest into the London Bridge terror attack
The van used in the London Bridge attacks to mow down pedestrians before crashing into railings outside the Barrowboy and Banker pub
The Westminster Bridge attack three months earlier
Khalid Masood (above) drove across Westminster Bridge in the March 22 attack
On March 22, 2017, Khalid Masood struck at the heart of British democracy – the Houses of Parliament
He drove a hire car across Westminster Bridge, killing four pedestrians on the pavement and injuring dozens more.
He then leapt out of his crashed car and ran into Parliament where he stabbed to death police officer Keith Palmer.
Masood was shot dead by bodyguards 82 seconds after the rampage began.
Masood’s victims were 48-year-old PC Palmer, who was on duty at the Palace of Westminster, along with US tourist Kurt Cochran, Romanian tourist Andreea Cristea, 31, and Britons Aysha Frade, 44, and 75-year-old Leslie Rhodes, who were mown down on the bridge.
Families of London Bridge attack victims ‘bewildered’ by ‘inadequate investigation’ into ISIS fanatics, inquest hears
Families of the victims killed in the London Bridge attack have been left ‘bewildered’ by an ‘inadequate investigation’ into the extremists ahead of the atrocity, an inquest has heard.
Gareth Patterson QC, representing six of the victims’ families, told the Old Bailey that reasonable monitoring of terrorist Khuram Butt, who he said was at ‘the heart’ of the attack, would have picked up discussions on planning.
Eight people were killed and 48 injured when Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, drove a van at pedestrians on London Bridge on June 3 2017.
The three managed to stab a number of people around Borough Market before they were shot dead by police marksmen.
Attacker Butt trained at the Ummah Fitness Centre in Ilford, east London, which was run by suspected extremist Sajeel Shahid.
Shahid, who has denied prior knowledge of Butt’s extremist views, was also linked to the Ad-Deen Primary School in Ilford where the attacker taught the Koran.
The 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
‘Every evening, when he was going to the gym, that was missed for months on end,’ Mr Patterson said.
‘Every afternoon, when he was going to the school, that it seems was missed for months on end, and given the risk he posed this was, we submit, inadequate investigative coverage. It doesn’t need hindsight to show this.’
Mr Patterson told the court that the gym appeared to have ‘black banners’ hanging on the wall, a sword or sheath was on display and that an Isis flag was shown on their Facebook page.
‘A reasonable investigation would have identified that Butt was working at a gym owned by a terrorist suspect’, he added.
‘This whole area of the gym leaves the families completely bewildered.’
Investigative opportunities were ‘arguably missed’ around Butt, Mr Patterson said.
His devices showed he was viewing material about martyrdom and that he wanted to be with martyrs ‘in paradise’, the lawyer said.
He added that planning of the attack did not begin on June 3 and must have been going on for ‘some months’.
‘The attack planning was going on for quite some time. It was not undetectable, it was there to be detected,’ Mr Patterson said.
‘We submit that these eight tragic deaths did not need to happen.’
But Richard Horwell QC, for the Metropolitan Police, told the Old Bailey that there was no ‘trigger’ that would have led to 24-hour surveillance of Butt.
He claimed that ‘no one has suggested what was known or what should have been known’ to justify surveillance on or shortly before June 3.
He added that the extremists ‘did not trust the gym as a safe place’ after it was suggested that this was a missed opportunity by authorities.
‘SO15 was looking for evidence of attack planning and only then would there have been an immediate risk to life,’ he told the inquest.
‘We are all so desperately sorry for what happened but there does not always have to be fault or blame.’
Christine Archibald, 30, Xavier Thomas, 45, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, Sara Zelenak, 21, Kirsty Boden, 28, Sebastien Belanger, 36, James McMullan, 32, and Ignacio Echeverria, 39, were killed in the attacks.