The first person to be stabbed at the London Bridge terrorist attack believed the incident was an accident and had gone to help his attackers, the inquest heard today (tues).
Richard Livett had been out with his brother-in-law to watch the Champions League Final on 3 June 2017.
He told the Old Bailey he saw the 2.5-tonne Renault Master van swerve out of control and crash into railings just yards away from him as he walked past the Barrowboy and Banker pub.
Mr Livett approaching the three attackers to check if they needed his help.
But one of them screamed ‘Allah Akbar’ and stabbed him in the back.
Mr Livett said: ‘I thought it was just an accident something had happened to the driver. Initially I did know it was a terrorist attack.
‘My recollection is I even moved towards the van.’
Asked if he approached the van to offer assistance he replied: ‘As far as I can remember myself, I think I moved towards the van for that purpose.
The terrorist’s van speeds towards London Bridge
‘The next sight that greeted me was a man running straight up and right in my face, and screaming Allah Akbar.
‘It happened within a split second of me turning around. I just saw a dark face with a beard and his was literally an inch or away. Nose to nose. Our noses were no more than an inch away.
‘I felt what I initially thought was a punch in the back which obviously turned out to be him flailing his arm round the back of me stabbing me.
‘I appreciated it very soon afterwards. I just felt an impact initially but then when he withdrew the knife, he withdrew it downwards and then I realised.
‘He moved on immediately after stabbing me.’
Mr Livett said he felt he was on ‘a personal mission’ to survive and began banging on doors of pubs and restaurants looking for help as he began to stagger and feel hazy.
‘I tried to get into a couple of places, but they were already on lock-down.’
Mr Livett adde: ‘I can remember being face down on the cobbles outside.’
He was treated by an off duty doctor and a solider while a group of women and his brother-in-law crowded round the entrance to a pub on Bedale Street.
‘It was chaos. I knew the area fairly-well from previous visits and I was aware of screaming and shouting.
‘I was on a mission, a personal mission, to get help as soon as I could because I realised it was a serious blow I had taken.
‘I was seeing people being talked to and at that point it was dark down there- there was screaming and shouting and running all over the place, police siren and everything it was crazy.
‘It was ferocious. They wanted to inflict maximum damage as quickly as possible.’
Terrorists Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, were all shot by police.
They murdered Xavier Thomas, 45, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, Kirsty Boden, 28, Christine Archibald, 30, Sara Zelenak, 21, James McMullan, 32, Sebastien Belanger, 36, and Ignacio Echeverría, 39.
The inquest continues.