London Bridge attackers could have targeted Oxford Street, inquest hears

Terrorists behind one of London’s bloodiest attacks could have been targeting Oxford Street but diverted to London Bridge on route, an inquest heard.

Eight people were killed and 48 more were hurt when Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, launched their van and knife attack on June 3 2017.

The three men had mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge before rampaging through Borough Market, the Old Bailey heard.

The court was told a mobile phone was later found in their van with directions to London’s busy shopping district.

Acting Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Jolley said it was possible the attackers could have switched their attention to London Bridge “on route” from east London where they lived.

Afterwards, police also uncovered “viable” petrol bombs in the hire van and fake suicide vests, he said.

The court was shown CCTV of the attackers making their final preparations.

In the footage, married Butt and Redouane appeared to play the role of doting fathers with their young children hours before unleashing carnage.

DCI Jolley told the court that all three attackers were working together by at least January 14 2017.

They regularly trained at the Ummah Fitness Centre in Ilford and went on Sunday swimming trips to Stratford.

On May 14, Redouane was pictured at Butt’s barbecue celebrating the birth of his daughter.

The 12in pink Ernesto ceramic knives used in the attack were bought by Redouane at East Ham’s Lidl at 10.15pm the next day.

On May 29, the attackers were seen on CCTV footage meeting at to the fitness centre.

The following day, Redouane went back to the same Lidl to buy wine bottles for the makeshift petrol bombs.

DNA analysis suggested Redouane also made the fake suicide belts, with help from Zaghba, the court heard.

Shortly before midday on June 3, Butt had gone walking with his family in a park. He was captured on CCTV withdrawing cash to hire the van, accompanied by his oldest child.

The young boy was shown tugging at Butt’s shirt before his father gathered him into his arms at the cashpoint.

Later, Butt made an online booking to hire a van from Hertz.

He had tried to hire a seven-and-a-half tonne lorry but the branch he had requested to collect it from had closed at 11am that day, the court heard.

At around 4.30pm all the attackers were outside Butt’s block, with Redouane accompanied by his child.

CCTV footage showed them travelling together in Redouane’s red Corsa to pick up the hire van and 29 bags of gravel to add weight from a B&Q store in Harold Hill, Romford.

Redouane dropped off his child before joining the others at Zaghba’s home at Fairfield Road in Ilford.

The attackers stopped off in the van at a Shell garage at 7.54pm, where they bought diesel, drinks and snack bars before heading to Butt’s Barking address.

While there, the attackers loaded up black plastic chairs before setting off at 8.55pm towards central London.

They mounted the kerb and launched their attack on the bridge just before 10.07pm.

Within 10 minutes, the terrorists had been shot dead by police marksmen.