Natural History Museum: Police incident after 'car mounts pavement', injuring number of pedestrians outside London attraction

Driver pinned down by bystanders including a father holding his daughter, before police arrived

Jon Sharman
Saturday 07 October 2017 16:06
Reported incident involving a car outside Natural History museum

A minicab driver sparked a major terror alert when his car mounted the pavement and ploughed into pedestrians in the heart of one of London’s busiest tourist areas.

Eleven people were injured outside London’s Natural History Museum. Those hurt were mostly suffering from head or leg injuries, the London Ambulance Service said, with nine taken to hospital. None were in a life-threatening condition and the detained man was among those being treated.

Video footage posted on Twitter showed a man being restrained on the ground by members of the public after the incident in South Kensington.

A witness told The Independent: “I saw two cars, they crashed. Two men got out of one car and took one man from the other. That’s all I saw.”

Police stand guard in Exhibition Road, South Kensington, after a car crash left pedestrians injured on 7 October

Lesley Carter drove past the scene moments after the initial incident.

He told The Independent: “Saw the man pinned down by about six people. One guy was trying to pin him down with his four- or five-year-old daughter in his arms.

“It looked like the car had smashed in to the wall between two other cars and the guy got out to run before being pinned down. Loads of people running away and within minutes the police had turned up.”

Oliver Cheshire, a model and the fiance of popstar Pixie Lott, was one of those who helped hold the man down after getting out of his Jaguar.

He told the MailOnline the man was "screaming", adding: "I got out and grabbed him - three of us grabbed him - and someone phoned the police.

"He was an Uber driver, according to the girls that were in his car. I have never seen anything like it."

The current terror threat in the UK is at "severe" - the second highest level - meaning an attack is highly likely.

A crashed car following an incident outside the Natural History Museum

And with London on edge after a string of recent terror attacks, people unaware of what was happening fled the scene.

Sophie Parry and Lesley Guinness said they saw people running away from the scene, after three "gunshot-like" bangs rang out a few seconds before a cyclist was struck by the car.

Dieon Rurora, 25, who works in a nearby cafe, added: "People were running down the street, falling over. It was quite scary."

Colleague Merilin Mueller, 20, added: "It just seemed like an accident because there was a police car. We couldn't see outside.

"Then there were loads of police cars and that's when all of these police came marching down saying, 'move, move'.

"They said, 'you need to evacuate'."

Downing Street had said that Prime Minister Theresa May was being kept up to date with developments.

In a message later on Twitter, she said: "My thanks to the first responders at this incident this afternoon and the actions of members of the public. My thoughts are with the injured."

London Mayor Sadiq Khan also tweeted his thanks and hopes for a "swift recovery" for those injured.

"For Londoners and visitors planning to visit our excellent museums and attractions in the area, please be assured they will be open as usual tomorrow," he said.

London’s Metropolitan Police later said the incident thought to be a "road traffic collision" and a man in his 40s had been arrested at the scene. They added that it was not thought to be “terror related.”

He was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving and received hospital treatment before being taken to a north London police station for questioning.