UK

London Bridge attack inquests: Fiance tells of 'chaos and mayhem'

Chrissy Archibald Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Chrissy Archibald's partner told an inquest he frantically tried to revive her

The fiance of a woman killed in the London Bridge attack has described "chaos and mayhem" at the scene, saying it looked like a "warzone".

Chrissy Archibald, 30, from Canada, was killed by three men who drove into pedestrians before stabbing passers by.

Her partner Tyler Ferguson told the Old Bailey inquests into the eight victims' deaths he frantically tried to revive her, despite knowing she had died.

He was "devastated and inconsolable" after her death, he said.

At the time of the attack, the couple had been visiting the UK from the Netherlands, where they lived.

An eight-week inquiry into the deaths of the victims of the terror attack is in its fourth day.

In a statement read to the court Mr Ferguson said he saw a man screaming as he ran down the road and heard the screeching of tyres as a "large transit van" approached from behind.

It was "immediately clear this was a deliberate act", he said, recalling the wing mirror brushing past his shoulder.

He heard a "loud thud" and then "Chrissie was no longer next to me", he said.

He could see her arms and legs as she was "pushed and pushed" down the road under the van.

When she was finally released, she had suffered "devastating injuries", he said.

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Chrissy Archibald was visiting the city with her partner Tyler Ferguson

CCTV footage played to the court, which was described by counsel to the inquests Jonathan Hough QC as "graphic and distressing", showed Ms Archibald being struck by the van on the third time it mounted the curb.

Mr Ferguson watched as she "convulsed and released the physical life from her body", but he attempted to perform CPR anyway, he said.

The court heard Ms Archibald's death was almost instantaneous, although paramedics treated her for more than an hour.

Mr Ferguson tried to find her engagement ring on the road but it was an "impossible task", he said. It was recovered later.

Prior to the attack, the couple had had an "intense conversation" where Ms Archibald told him to make up with his father because he "could get hit by a bus tomorrow", Mr Ferguson said.

At the inquests

By Alice Evans, BBC News

Court One in the Old Bailey was eerily quiet as we were shown countless CCTV angles of Ms Archibald and Mr Ferguson before and during the attack on London Bridge.

Det Con Alistair Hutchison calmly guided the court through each frame - everyone knowing what the footage was leading up to.

Ms Archibald could be seen chatting animatedly to her fiance as they walked together at about 22:05.

Watching this footage in court, our attention was brought to one particular moment just before Ms Archibald was killed.

The pair switched sides of the pavement, meaning Mr Ferguson was closer to the balustrade and Ms Archibald was closer to the road.

When the van careered on to the pavement, Ms Archibald was hit and pulled under the front of the chassis. Her dress was ripped off as she was dragged across the road.

Christine Delcros, who we have already heard recount being hit by the van with her fiance Xavier Thomas, was visibly distressed by this part of the footage.

She held her head in her hands, her eyes fixed to the footage onscreen.

A man on a double-decker bus near Ms Archibald's body attempted to film the aftermath of the attack, the vehicle's driver Anton Sobanski told the inquest. Someone told him to stop the recording, he added.

Mr Sobansk, who broke down in court when he was asked to describe Ms Archibald's condition, also said he "always felt London Bridge was vulnerable to an attack".

"I was shocked there were no barriers on London Bridge. I thought this was weird, no barriers. I always felt that maybe a vehicle could be used to kill 100, 200, people," he said.

The inquests were told on Wednesday Ms Archibald might still be alive if barriers had been put up following the Westminster Bridge attack, which took place two months earlier.

Image caption The victims of the attack clockwise - Chrissy Archibald, Sebastien Belanger, Kirsty Boden, Ignacio Echeverría, Sara Zelenak, Xavier Thomas, Alexandre Pigeard, James McMullan

The others who were killed in the attack were James McMullan, 32, from Hackney in London, French trio Xavier Thomas, 45, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, and Sebastien Belanger, 36, Ignacio Echeverría, 39, from Madrid, and Australians Sara Zelenak, 21, and Kirsty Boden, 28.

The attackers were shot dead by police, who arrived at the scene of the attack within eight minutes.

A pre-inquest hearing at the Old Bailey in February 2018 was told all three men had steroids in their systems when they died.

The inquests continue.

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