London attacks: Man fights back against terrorists
5 June 2017
Eyewitness Gerard Vowls came face to face with the London Bridge terrorists after leaving his friends at the pub and bravely confronted the group to try and stop them.
Gerard Vowles told Sky in the UK he shouted at the terrorists and threw tables and chairs at them in the hope they'd follow him and stop stabbing others.
When three men armed with a van and knives went on the attack in a bustling area of the British capital on Saturday night [Sunday NZ Time], Londoners fought back with whatever came to hand, in some cases hurling chairs and tables to ward them off.
The attack, in which the assailants killed at least seven people and injured almost 50 before they were shot dead by police, began with a van being driven at high speed into a crowd of pedestrians on London Bridge.
"It looked like he was aiming for groups of people," Mark Roberts, a 53-year-old management consultant, said He saw at least six people on the ground after the van veered on and off the pavement.
"It was horrendous."
Then the knife-wielding assailants took their attack to the nearby Borough Market, where survivors described a hellish scene in an area packed with people enjoying a night out in bars and restaurants.
Gerard Vowles told Sky TV he was on the street near the Southwark Tavern pub, the scene of multiple stabbings, when he heard someone say: "I've been stabbed, I've been stabbed".
"I thought they were joking," he said.
He said he then saw a woman and man being stabbed while the attackers shouted: "This is for Allah", and recalled how he tried to distract the men.
"As they left I was going 'Oi, oi, cowards!'" Vowles said. "I was just trying to get their attention by throwing things at them ... I thought if I throw bottles or chairs they can come after me. If I can get them to come to the main road then the police can stop them, they can obviously shoot them."
Other witnesses reported seeing a man with a large blade, similar to a kitchen knife, and victims bleeding from stab wounds. They said people were fleeing the area in panic.
One witness, who only gave the BBC his first name of Ben, said he saw a man dressed in red who was stabbing a man with a blade that appeared to be about 10 inches long.
"He was being stabbed quite coldly and he slumped to the ground," he said of the victim. The attacker then walked towards Southwark Tavern where a chair was thrown towards him, shortly before gunshots rang out.