London Bridge terror attack inquest to open

An inquest into the deaths of eight people killed in the London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack is due to open.

Three women and five men died when three men ploughed into crowds in a white van before stabbing revellers with 12in (30cm) ceramic knives on June 3, 2017.

The victims were Christine Archibald, 30, Xavier Thomas, 45, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, Sara Zelenak, 21, Kirsty Boden, 28, Sebastien Belanger, 36, James McMullan, 32, and Ignacio Echeverria, 39.

Incident at London Bridge
Incident at London Bridge

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

An eight-week inquiry into the deaths of the victims will begin at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, which will be followed by a separate hearing for the inquests of their killers in front of a jury.

Chief coroner Mark Lucraft QC will deliver a short opening speech before hearing “pen portraits” of the victims from their loved ones.

The attack came just three months after 52-year-old Khalid Masood mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in a hired car before stabbing a police officer to death.

The inquest is expected to examine why there were still no barriers to protect pedestrians on London Bridge by June 3.

Incident at London Bridge
Incident at London Bridge

Families will also want answers to the question of how Butt was able to plan and carry out the attack while he was under investigation by security services.

Another issue likely to be raised by lawyers acting for the relatives of the victims is the lack of security checks required to hire rental vehicles after cars and lorries were used as weapons in Nice, Berlin and Westminster Bridge.

In the coming weeks, the court will hear from witnesses, the family and friends of the attackers, and a senior MI5 officer.

Other evidence is expected to include CCTV footage of the attacks and the terrorists’ movements, body-worn video from police officers and footage from members of the public caught up in the carnage.

The court will not sit on the second anniversary of the atrocity next month.