London Bridge attack victim’s fiance asked man to stop filming, inquest told
The fiance of a Canadian woman killed in the London Bridge terror attack told a man to “stop filming” after she was dragged under the wheels of a van, an inquest has heard.
Social worker Christine Archibald, 30, suffered “almost instantaneous” death when she was hit by the rented vehicle on June 3, 2017 as she walked with Tyler Ferguson, the Old Bailey was told.
She was one of eight people killed when Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, launched a van and knife rampage on London Bridge and in Borough Market.
Bus driver Anton Sobanski said he returned to his vehicle in the aftermath of the attack to find the bottom deck deserted except for an empty pram, with passengers sheltering upstairs.
He said: “There was a man upstairs at the back and he was trying to film where Chrissy and someone – I believe it was Tyler – telling him ‘stop filming’.”
Ms Archibald and her fiance were walking across the bridge after the couple, who were living together in The Hague, Netherlands, went for dinner at a Thai restaurant during a weekend visit to the capital.
“Chrissy stopped out of nowhere, grabbed me close to give me a passionate kiss after telling me how much she loved me,” he said in his evidence, which was read at the Old Bailey on Friday.
He said earlier during an “intense conversation” she had told him to make up with his father because he “could get hit by a bus tomorrow”.
The inquest heard how they switched sides moments before the attackers’ began targeting groups of pedestrians in their rented van.
Mr Ferguson said he saw a man screaming as he ran down the road and heard the screeching of tyres as the vehicle approached from behind.
“I then noticed a really large white Transit van on the pavement hurtling towards us,” he said.
“It was immediately clear this was an act of violence and not an accident.”
Mr Tyler said he heard a “loud thud”, adding: “I then looked for Chrissy. She was no longer next to me.
I realised she had been hit by the van.”
CCTV footage played in court, which was described by counsel to the inquest Jonathan Hough QC as “graphic and distressing”, showed Ms Archibald being struck by the van on the third time it had mounted the 10cm curb.
Mr Ferguson was seen to run after the van and crouch down over her body, which had been carried down the road under the chassis.
He said: “She was lying on her back, her dress had been ripped off by the van, so she was naked at this stage.
“I remember looking down at her mangled body as she convulsed and released the physical life from her body.”
Mr Ferguson said he had to “scoop out fragments of teeth” to clear his fiance’s airway before performing CPR – but saw blood come from her mouth as he tried to breathe into it.
“I knew in this moment she was dead,” he said.
“Four people helped drag Chrissie’s body to the north side of the bridge to try and help her, but it was clear to me by this time our efforts were futile.”
Mr Ferguson said he and other bystanders continued to try to save Ms Archibald’s life for over an hour before he noticed his surroundings.
“It was chaos and mayhem. It was a warzone,” he added.
“No words can express how I felt when this happened. I was absolutely devastated and inconsolable.”
The inquest heard Mr Ferguson realised his fiancee’s engagement ring came off during the impact and Mr Ferguson said he ran back down the bridge to find it, but realised it would be an “almost impossible task”.
But the ring was later recovered and he now wears it on a chain around his neck.
Gareth Patterson QC, for the Archibald family, said: “It’s clear she showed no movements whatsoever entirely consistent with the pathologist’s finding and the suggestion, for Chrissy death must have been pretty much instantaneous.”
Bus driver Mr Sobanski was nearing the end of his shift when he heard a woman screaming.
He broke down in court when he was asked to describe Ms Archibald’s condition, telling the court there was a lot of blood around her mouth as people were trying to save her.
Mr Sobanski said: “I was shocked there were no barriers on London Bridge. I thought this was weird, no barriers. I always felt that maybe a vehicle could be used to kill 100, 200, people.
“I always felt London Bridge was vulnerable to an attack. When it happened I could not believe it happened to me.”
Ms Archibald was one of eight people killed in the attack.
The others were Xavier Thomas, 45, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, Sara Zelenak, 21, Kirsty Boden, 28, Sebastien Belanger, 36, James McMullan, 32, and Ignacio Echeverria, 39.
The attackers, who wore fake explosive belts, were shot dead by police.