‘It was chaos’: Two years on from attack that killed eight, terror puts London Bridge on lockdown again

‘People came running through the car park, shouting and screaming. It was chaos,’ says market trader

Chris Baynes
Friday 29 November 2019 21:25
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London Bridge attack: People seen fleeing from Borough Market

Two years after rampaging knifemen killed eight people in London Bridge, traders and shoppers at Borough Market were once again forced to flee as terror returned to one of the capital’s busiest areas.

As market stalls, restaurants and bars geared up for a bustling Friday afternoon, panic took hold as reports of a stabbing attack on the nearby bridge emerged.

“People came running through the car park, shouting and screaming. It was chaos,” said Philip Crouch, 57, who runs a stall selling cured meats and cheese. “The noise of the screams was extraordinary, I’ve never heard anything like it.”

The scene brought back “horrible memories,” said Mr Crouch, who was working on the night of the June 2017 attack and whose two children barricaded themselves in his business’s storeroom as the latest violence unfolded.

Some customers fled, while others took refuge in nearby shops and offices as armed police moved in and put the area on lockdown.

“I thought it was a car crash, it looked like it was pretty minor,” said Laurence Verfaillie, who works on another stall in the market.

“Suddenly a trader told me the ice-cream seller on the bridge has run away yelling … People were taking refuge in our shop before we got told.”

Teenage pupils and staff at nearby Kaplan business school were locked inside as the incident unfolded before being escorted out by armed police.

“People were running, said 17-year-old Salih Tasdemir. “I was really scared.”

Hundreds of office workers milled at the police cordon waiting for news as officers evacuated workers from buildings close to the scene.

On the north side of London Bridge, closest to where the attacker was shot dead by police, a huge exclusion zone left part of the capital’s business district eerily empty.

As news emerged that at least two members of the public had died, only journalists and a few bystanders remained as darkness fell, while a police helicopter continued to circle overhead.

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