LONDON (Reuters) - People had their throats slashed from behind and endured violence so horrific they were left unable to speak in Saturday night’s murderous rampage by three jihadis in the heart of London, according to accounts still emerging two days later.
The attackers first rammed a van into pedestrians at high speed on London Bridge, before running into narrow streets buzzing with nightlife in the Borough Market area and stabbing people indiscriminately with long knives.
The attack left seven people dead and 48 injured, of whom 18 were still in a critical condition on Monday.
“The people who’d been stabbed had been stabbed with a clear intent to kill,” Malik Ramadhan, a senior doctor in charge of accident and emergency services at the Royal London hospital, told BBC radio on Monday.
His hospital received 12 of the injured on Saturday night, and he said several of them had been left wordless with shock.
“People who’d gone through an experience more horrific than I can imagine were just sitting on trolleys not speaking to us,” said Ramadhan. “They were startled to the point where they couldn’t speak.”
During the chaos on Saturday night, one eyewitness fleeing the scene told Reuters she had seen three people who appeared to have their throats cut.
Detailed accounts gradually emerging confirmed her account.
Among the survivors was Australian waitress Candice Hedge. Family members told Australian media an attacker grabbed her head from behind before slashing her throat.
Martial arts enthusiast Geoff Ho was captured on video bleeding heavily from the neck after trying to help a pub bouncer who was being attacked.
New Zealander Oliver Dowling suffered multiple stab wounds to his face, neck and stomach, his sister told media.
An eyewitness, Gerard Vowles, said the attackers were like robots. “They were there to do one thing and one thing only: to kill people, stab them, stab them to death,” he said.
One man filmed among a stream of people fleeing the scene could be seen calmly taking his pint of beer with him, in what some saw as a symbol of British humour and defiance.
Other Londoners fought back with whatever came to hand, including hurling chairs and tables.
One transport police offer took on the assailants armed only with a baton. He suffered face, head and leg injuries.
“For an officer who only joined us less than two years ago, the bravery he showed was outstanding and makes me extremely proud,” said British Transport Police’s Chief Constable Paul Crowther.
“It became clear that he showed enormous courage in the face of danger, as did many others who were at the scene and rushed to help.”
Additional reporting by Alistair Smout, editing by Estelle Shirbon