London Bridge terror attack victims’ devastating injuries revealed

The devastating injuries which killed two of the victims of the London Bridge terror attacks were laid bare at their inquest.

The deaths of Christine Archibald and Sara Zelenak would have been “near instantaneous”, according to Home Office pathologist Dr Ashley Fegan-Earl.

Ms Archibald received several injuries after being struck by the attacker’s van on London Bridge while Ms Zelenak was repeatedly stabbed. She suffered a fatal blow to the neck that severed her spinal cord.

Sara Zelenak
Sara Zelenak

Eight people were killed and 48 others injured after Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, launched a van and knife attack on June 3 2017.

Ms Archibald, 30, Ms Zelenak, 21, Xavier Thomas, 45, Sebastien Belanger, 36, James McMullan, 32, Kirsty Boden, 28, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, and Ignacio Echeverria, 39, were all killed in the attack, which lasted less than 10 minutes.

Ms Archibald suffered a range of injuries including fractures to her jaw and skull, broken ribs, major shearing forces to her spine and two critical tears to her aorta.

There was also bruising and grazing across her body.

Dr Ashley Fegan-Earl told the central London inquest that Ms Archibald would not have suffered and that “there would have been no medical treatment that could have saved her life”.

He said: “If a full operating theatre was present, she could not have been saved given the extent of these injuries.”

Sara Zelenak
Sara Zelenak

The court has heard that the van was travelling at 34mph when it struck Ms Archibald.

Dr Fegan-Earl described the energy transfer when a vehicle strikes a body as “immense”, adding that “a vehicle can produce multiple injuries as it is demonstrated here”.

Ms Zelenak’s injuries included a severed rib and spinal cord plus a fractured jaw. She was stabbed just below her left ear, with the knife severing her vertebra and spinal cord.

This would have had an impact on “all the basic structures of life” which are controlled in this area, the court heard.

London Bridge victims
London Bridge victims

Dr Ashley Fegan-Earl told the central London inquest that was “without doubt the fatal injury”, and added that he would have expected Ms Zelenak to die “extremely rapidly”.

Stab wounds to the chest, slashes to her legs plus a knife wound right through her thigh were among her other injuries.

The court has previously heard that Ms Zelenak had been running away from her attackers when she stumbled and turned her foot.

Dr Ashley Fegan-Earl said Ms Zelenak, who was wearing a pair of strappy high-heeled shoes, had an ankle injury and that she may have turned her ankle and fell on her right hand side.

He added there were no defence wounds to her hands and arms.