London Bridge terror attack: Authorities slammed for ‘staggering’ failings

The girlfriend of a London Bridge victim has blamed authorities for a catalogue of “staggering” failings in the lead up to the attack.

Floral tributes at the site of the attack. Picture: AFP/Getty

But Christine Delcros, whose boyfriend Xavier Thomas was struck on the bridge, said of the three terrorists: “They tried in vain to extinguish our joy, our hope, our love. But in the end they failed.”

Ms Delcros, who was also injured in the attack, spoke out as Chief Coroner Mark Lucraft QC yesterday concluded the eight victims were unlawfully killed on 3 June 2017.

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The inquest heard how former London Underground worker Khuram Butt, 27, hired the Hertz van that ploughed into pedestrians on the bridge, killing Frenchman Mr Thomas, 45, and Canadian Chrissy Archibald, 30.

Mr Thomas, a father-of-two, was catapulted into the river Thames and found dead three days later.

The van crashed into railings and Butt, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, ran amok around Borough Market with knives strapped to their wrists and fake suicide belts.

They set upon Sara Zelenak, 21, who had fallen over in her high heels then turned on James McMullan, 32, as he tried to help her up.

Nurse Kirsty Boden, 28, was stabbed after she went to the aid of French musician Alexandre Pigeard, 26, outside the Boro Bistro.

The killers also attacked Sebastien Belanger, 36, and Ignacio Echeverria, 39, who was fatally injured as he bravely fended off the attackers with his skateboard.

The rampage, which left eight dead and 48 seriously injured, was over in just under ten minutes when the terrorists were shot dead by police marksmen.

The inquest has heard how barriers to protect pedestrians on the bridge were not installed in the wake of the Westminster Bridge attack three months before.

And police and MI5 failed to recognise the threat posed by ringleader Butt, who associated with Islamic State fanatic Anjem Choudary, appeared in the documentary The Jihadi Next Door and was able to teach the Koran at a primary school.

Before the attack, Butt had been under investigation yet authorities failed to pass on tip-offs about his extremism, including one from a family member.

In an emotional statement, Ms Delcros highlighted a “catalogue of failings”, saying: “I believe this attack was preventable.”

She said: “I find it staggering that Butt, a well-known extremist, was allowed to work within the London Transport network [and] to have access to and teach young children.”

In his conclusions, Mr Lucraft noted extraordinary acts of bravery as police officers, medics and members of the public rushed in to help in spite of the danger.