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London Bridge attackers may have intended to target Oxford Street, inquest hears

Terrorists may have switched attention 'on route' from where they lived

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 30 May 2019 01:07 BST
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London Bridge attack: Court shown footage of van moments before mounting pavement

The three terrorists behind the London Bridge attack could have been targeted Oxford Street but diverted on route, an inquest heard.

Eight people were killed and 48 injured when ​Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, launched their van and knife attack on 3 June, 2017.

The three men had mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge before rampaging through Borough Market, the Old Bailey heard.

The court was told a mobile phone was later found in their van with directions to London‘s busy shopping district.

Acting Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Jolley said it was possible the attackers could have switched their attention to London Bridge “on route” from east London where they lived.

Afterwards, police also uncovered “viable” petrol bombs in their hire van and fake suicide vests, he said.

The court was shown CCTV of the attackers making their final preparations.

In the footage, Butt and Redouane appeared to play the role of doting fathers with their young children hours before unleashing carnage.

DCI Jolley told the court all three attackers were working together by at least 14 January, 2017.

They regularly trained at the Ummah Fitness Centre in Ilford and went on Sunday swimming trips to Stratford.

On 14 May, Redouane was pictured at Butt’s barbecue celebrating the birth of his daughter.

The 12in pink Ernesto ceramic knives used in the attack were bought by Redouane at East Ham’s Lidl at 10.15pm the next day.

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 Echeverri (PA)

On 29 May, the attackers were seen on CCTV footage meeting at the fitness centre.

The following day, Redouane went back to the same Lidl to buy wine bottles for the makeshift petrol bombs.

DNA analysis suggested Redouane also made the fake suicide belts, with help from Zaghba, the court heard.

A van driven by terrorists involved in the London Bridge attack heading north past the London Bridge underground sign on the day of the attack (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Shortly before midday on 3 June, Butt had gone walking with his family in a park. He was captured on CCTV withdrawing cash to hire the van, accompanied by his oldest child.

The young boy was shown tugging at Butt’s shirt before his father gathered him into his arms at the cashpoint.

Later, Butt made an online booking to hire a van from Hertz.

He had tried to hire a seven-and-a-half tonne lorry but the branch he had requested to collect it from had closed at 11am that day, the court heard.

At around 4.30pm all the attackers were outside Butt’s block, with Redouane accompanied by his child.

A diagram showing the route the London Bridge attackers walked and ran while stabbing people (Metropolitan Police)

CCTV footage showed them travelling together in Redouane’s red Corsa to pick up the hire van and 29 bags of gravel to add weight from a B&Q store in Harold Hill, Romford.

Redouane dropped off his child before joining the others at Zaghba’s home at Fairfield Road in Ilford.

The attackers stopped off in the van at a Shell garage at 7.54pm, where they bought diesel, drinks and snack bars before heading to Butt’s Barking address.

While there, the attackers loaded up black plastic chairs before setting off at 8.55pm towards central London.

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They mounted the kerb and launched their attack on the bridge just before 10.07pm.

Within 10 minutes, the terrorists had been shot dead by police marksmen.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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