A young woman kissed her fiance and told him “I love you” moments before she was struck by a van, the inquest into the London Bridge terror attack has heard.
Three women and five men died on 3 June 2017 after three men ploughed into crowds in a white van before stabbing revellers with 12-inch ceramic knives near Borough Market.
The victims were Christine Archibald, 30, Xavier Thomas, 45, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, Sara Zelenak, 21, Kirsty Boden, 28, Sebastien Belanger, 36, James McMullan, 32, and Ignacio Echeverria, 39.
All eight victims were killed and 48 more were seriously injured in less than ten minutes of “high and terrible drama”, chief coroner Mark Lucraft QC said.
The attackers – Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22 – wore fake explosive belts and were eventually shot dead by police.
At the start of the victims’ inquests yesterday, families paid tribute to their loved ones in a packed Court One of the Old Bailey. Canadian Ms Archibald was visiting London for the weekend with fiancé Tyler Ferguson when she was hit and dragged under the wheels of the attackers’ van.
In a statement read to the court, Mr Ferguson said they had been “very much looking forward” to spending the rest of their lives together and starting a family.
On the day of the attack, Ms Archibald, who worked in a shelter, was feeling “proud” about negotiating the London Underground when they met for dinner.
Mr Ferguson said: “We decided to walk over London Bridge. At one point Chrissy stopped me out of nowhere, grabbed me close and gave me a passionate kiss after telling me she loved me. I remember it being a warm summer’s evening and the sun had just gone down.
“And then the attack took place and Chrissy was killed.
“No words can express how I felt when this happened. I was absolutely devastated and inconsolable.
“Chrissy’s ring was initially lost, but during the clean-up of the bridge it was found and returned to me. I still wear it on a gold chain around my neck.”
The van also struck French father-of-two Mr Thomas, who was with his girlfriend Christine Delcros on the bridge. Mr Thomas had been on the phone to his teenage son Nicolas moments before he was catapulted into the River Thames and Ms Delcros was badly injured. The attackers then crashed the van into railings and ran amok around Borough Market, with knives attached to their wrists with duct tape.
Nurse Ms Boden was stabbed in the neck after she rushed to help waiter Mr Pigeard, who was chased by the three attackers despite being mortally hurt. Her British partner James Hodder said: “To Kirsty, her actions that night would have just been an extension of how she lived her life.
“We are so unspeakably proud of her.”