Inquest on London Bridge attack begins in London

Three attackers ploughed a van into pedestrians on London Bridge before launching a knife attack in nearby Borough Market and being shot dead by police.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 07: Mark and Julie Wallace, parents of victim Sara Zelenak, arrive for the opening day of the inquest into the London Bridge terror attack on May 7, 2019 in London, England. The inquest taking place at the Old Bailey is into the deaths of eight people killed in the London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack. Three women and five men died when three attackers drove into crowds in a white van before stabbing others with knives on June 3, 2017. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
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The London Bridge inquests began in the British capital on Tuesday, with details emerging on the attack on 3 June 2017 that killed 8 people and injured 48 in 10-minutes-long rampage in the heart of London.

Three attackers ploughed a van into pedestrians on London Bridge before launching a knife attack in nearby Borough Market and being shot dead by police.

Among the victims were an off-duty nurse was killed as she attempted to help the wounded and a passer-by who tried to tackle the terrorists with a skateboard.

The families of those killed were heard by the court as the inquest began. Tyler Ferguson, who lost his partner Chrissy Archibald, said he and Ms Archibald were "very much looking forward" to spending the rest of their lives together and starting a family.

"We decided to walk over London Bridge. At one point Chrissy stopped me out of nowhere, gave me a passionate kiss and told me she loved me," he said. "Then the attack happened and Chrissy was killed."

"I love, and still love, Chrissy more than life itself," he said. "She was my angel."

Ms Archibald had planned to marry Mr Ferguson in the autumn of 2018 in Canada.

Ignacio Echeverría, 39, a Spanish national, made “courageous efforts” when he attemoted to tackle the terrorists with a skateboard. He died after being stabbed.

The relatives of 45-year-old Xavier Thomas also talked about the impact of their loss. “Our whole world has fallen apart,” they said.

The parents the French national said "barbarians" had taken his life. "We all feel lost and are experiencing a great void without Xavier," they said.

His girlfriend, Christine Delcros, who was seriously injured in the attack, broke into tears as she spoke.

"He was a true gentleman and devoted father with whom she shared his philosophy to live life to the full", she said.

Sara Zelenak, an Australian au pair, was stabbed to death at Borough Market on a night out with a friend, her family said.

Her mother, Julie Wallace, said Sara was "the happiest she had ever been." She had arrived in the UK that March and was "working, travelling, meeting new people, doing all the things a 21-year-old should do".

"That was until June 3, 2017, when our lives changed forever," she added.

Ms Zelenak was meant to work that night but got the evening off at the last minute. She and her friend planned to go to a rooftop bar, but couldn't find it.

Mrs Wallace said she and her husband have set up a sanctuary to help other families to cope with grief.

The attackers, Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, were shot dead by police at the scene.

The hearings will examine the circumstances of each of the deaths, as well as how Butt was able to plan it despite being the target of an MI5 investigation.