Journalist Geoff Ho, 41 arriving at the Old Bailey in London
The lead terrorist of the London Bridge attack stabbed a journalist twice in the neck in a ‘murderous rage’ after the victim pleaded ‘you don’t have to do this’ then wiped the bloody knife clean on his beard, an inquest heard.
Khuram Butt, 27, stabbed Geoff Ho twice with a 12-inch knife into Geoff Ho’s and tried to twist the blade to finish him off in Borough Market’s Black and Blue restaurant.
Wearing an Arsenal football shirt, the Isis killer had marched in ‘like an animal’ and ordered drinkers and staff to ‘lie on the f**king floor’ on 3 June 2017.
Mr Ho, City editor of The Sunday Express, had been watching the Champions League final with friends before Butt, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, forced entry.
The victim mistook the extremists’ fake suicide bomb vests for real explosive devices and feared they may detonate and kill everyone inside.
Giving evidence at the Old Bailey today, Mr Ho recalled seeing the terrorists approaching the restaurant making ‘slow, deliberate, predatory movements’.
‘It’s like they were stalking someone,’ he said.
A waitress had locked the glass doors to the venue, but the terrorists kicked it until it came off the hinges and squeezed inside.
Mr Ho said Butt screamed ‘lie down on the f**king floor’ as the three killers moved ‘as a pack’ towards victims.
As Butt approached him, he said: ‘No, you don’t have to do this.’
‘I started walking backwards and to the side and he came towards me again,’ said Mr Ho.
Pictured: Victims of the attack journalist Geoff Ho and Australian Candice Hedge, who was working at Elliot’s Cafe in Borough Market at the time
Pictured left: Journalist Geoff Ho arriving at the Old Bailey. Right: With fiancee Cecile De Alenca arriving at the Old Bailey
‘I thought if I rush him he may detonate and kill us all, if I talk to him maybe he will go away.
‘I knew if I lie down on the floor on my back or my front I would be dead.
‘I knew that if I lay down I can’t defend myself and if they hit something – yeah.
‘He was like an animal. He just wanted to kill people.
‘It was rage, the eyes were full of rage, just murderous rage.
Khuram Butt, 27, stabbed Geoff Ho twice with a 12-inch knife
‘He spat his words out forcefully, with venom.
‘I said “no, you don’t have to do this”.
‘He lunged at me. At this point it gets a little fuzzy, but I remember getting to my knees.’
Horrifying CCTV footage shows Butt repeatedly stabbing Mr Ho in the neck after the victim gets down on to his knees.
‘He hit my neck and then he hit it again and tried twisting it,’ said Mr Ho.
‘And then I remember the blood.
‘Then he came at me again and tried to stab me in the stomach and I remember moving my stomach out of the way and he only got a scratch on me.’
As Mr Ho lay on the floor wounded, Butt went behind the bar in the restaurant and washed his bloodied knife under a water tap.
In what was described as ‘a chilling gesture’, he then wiped the blade dry on his beard and ordered his fellow extremists to move on.
Waitress Candice Hedge had crouched down in a booth inches away from one of the terrorists after he stormed into Elliot’s.
She had taken cover after seeing crowds fleeing the Isis killers, who were ‘darting’ and ‘sneaking’ around with 12-inch ceramic knives outside.
Waitress Candice Hedge was crouched down in a booth inches away from one of the terrorists after he stormed into Elliot’s
After warning customers they were in danger, Ms Hedge spotted the extremists’ fake suicide vests and rushed downstairs and ducked down in a seating booth to hide.
The Australian remained out of sight as one of the fanatics prowled through the restaurant hunting for victims and stopped right next to her.
But as he turned to leave the venue, he spotted her and ‘immediately’ plunged his blade into her neck, the Old Bailey heard.
Recalling the attack, Ms Hedges said: ‘People started surging into the restaurant.
Pictured: Candice Hedge leaves the Old Bailey
‘I was told someone was at the front with a knife.
‘I went to the seating area at the back to explain to customers.
‘I turned around to see what was happening at the front. That’s when I noticed someone coming into the restaurant.
‘I was at the end of the bar inside the restaurant.
‘Once I realised they were coming into the restaurant I noticed the vests.
‘I can’t really recall much I just remember seeing some sort of wires.
‘I thought it was an explosive vest.
‘I had hidden downstairs.’
Ms Hedge said one of the terrorists prowled through the restaurant area and stopped a foot away from her.
‘I couldn’t see the one that was beside me,’ she said.
‘They were shouting, I can’t remember the exact words, but something along the lines of they weren’t happy with the way we were living our lives.
‘The one that was next to me turned around and then he saw me.
‘He immediately came down with his knife.
‘I didn’t feel pain immediately.’
Mr Ho picked himself up from the floor after they moved away and hid in a staff area. He stemmed the bleeding from his wounds with a pair of jeans and dialled 999 (pictured: Mr Ho and fiancee Cecile De Alenca)
The knife came within millimetres of Ms Hedge’s artery and vocal cords, leaving her gushing blood.
She was left for dead by the terrorist, who appeared to think he had dealt her a fatal blow.
Ms Hedge, who still works at Elliot’s, managed to flee and stemmed the flow of blood with a napkin from the restaurant before she was treated by paramedics.
Mr Ho, who has since recovered, picked himself up from the floor after they moved away and hid in a staff area.
He stemmed the bleeding from his wounds with a pair of jeans and dialled 999, telling police the terrorists had knives and explosive vests.
The victims were later escorted to safety by armed police and heard Butt, Redouane and Zaghba being shot dead by police, who believed that their bogus bomb vests were real.
By then they had murdered Xavier Thomas, 45, Christine Archibald, 30, Sébastien Belanger, 36, Kirsty Boden, 28, James McMullan, 32, Sara Zelenak, 21, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, and Ignacio Echeverría, 39.
The inquest continues.