Aust victim slipped before London killing

Australian Sara Zelenak may have slipped over before she could run away from the three terrorists who stabbed her to death in the London Bridge attacks, an inquest has heard.

The 21-year-old and fellow Australian Kirsty Boden were among eight people killed when Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba used a van to run down dozens of people on the bridge before stabbing dozens more with ceramic kitchen knives in nearby Borough Market on the night of June 3, 2017.

Witness Erick Siguenza, who had been out with friends that night, saw a young woman with blonde hair slip over just metres from where the attackers’ van crashed at the southern end of London Bridge.

He agreed that the recent rain and her high heels may have caused her to lose her footing on the wet pavement.

Mr Siguenza then saw a man, who may have been Briton James McMullan, gently try to help her up, but the three attackers had already got out of the van with their knives in hand.

“There was no time for him to be able to help her up because the driver and other terrorists were already running towards them, so there was no time,” he told the inquest at London’s Old Bailey.

Mr Siguenza said the man was stabbed in the left side of his chest and the woman was stabbed while she was on the ground.

The Australian’s friend Priscilla Goncalves heard the van crash and people shouting “run”, so she started running away.

She initially assumed Ms Zelenak was running next to her but then realised the Australian was not there.

“Then we start running and when I look again (sic) she’s not next to me anymore,” she told the inquest.

Ms Goncalves had no idea it was a terrorist attack and had just instinctively run away.

“I just thought that maybe gangs, I knew it was dangerous,” she said.

“I looked behind and I saw men on top of another man and then I thought maybe someone is attacking someone but I didn’t know it was a terrorist attack.”

“I didn’t see any gun or knife.”

Ms Goncalves didn’t see her friend Ms Zelenak again either despite trying to contact her continually on Whatsapp that night.

“I thought maybe she had lost her phone so I sent messages on messenger as well, on Facebook and I called but she didn’t pick up,” she said.

“I didn’t know where she was, I was hoping she was maybe hiding somewhere.”

Days later Ms Goncalves found out that her friend had been killed.

Canadian Christine Archibald, 30, Briton James McMullan, 32, Frenchmen Xavier Thomas, 45, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, and Sebastien Belanger, 36, and 39-year-old Spaniard Ignacio Echeverria also died in the attack.

Mr Thomas and Ms Archibald were hit by the van, with the others all stabbed to death.

The coroner said another 48 people were seriously wounded, while all three attackers were shot dead by police at the scene.

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