‘Evil, smiling’ assassin fatally stabbed waiter outside restaurant

An “evil and smiling” assassin stabbed a waiter to death just three metres (10ft) from where diners were sitting outside a restaurant during the London Bridge attack, an inquest heard.

Andzelika Abokaityte and her boyfriend had been celebrating a friend’s birthday party at Boro Bistro on the evening of June 3 2017.

That night, their waiter, Frenchman Alexandre Pigeard, 26, was among eight people killed by three terrorist armed with 12in ceramic knives.

Giving evidence at their inquest, Ms Abokaityte said she heard a “big sound” as the attackers’ van crashed into railings, sending debris raining down onto tables in the courtyard below.

Incident at London Bridge
One of the knives used used by the London Bridge terrorists (Met Police/PA)

She told the Old Bailey: “I was sitting with my friend, the one that was hit by glass, and I was asking if he is OK, and then I heard people screaming.

“Shortly after I was looking around and I could see a man holding our waiter.”

The face of the attacker who had grabbed hold of Mr Pigeard was “evil and smiling”, she said.

He stabbed him from behind a couple of times before slashing another man’s neck, the inquest heard.

The witness went on: “I looked at my friend and asked him to run then I looked again and I’m not sure it was the same person or another, and I saw him slicing his neck.”

She waited inside before being directed to the emergency exit through an alleyway, she said.

Ms Abokaityte told how she saw another man holding his neck with a lot of blood, and a woman on the ground.

After about 10 minutes, armed police arrived and directed her inside Boro Bistro, upstairs into another bar.

London Bridge victims
The victims of the London Bridge terrorist attack: Christine Archibald, James McMullan, Alexandre Pigeard, Sebastien Belanger, (bottom row left to right) Kirsty Boden, Sara Zelenak, Xavier Thomas and Ignacio Echeverria (Met Police/PA)

Gareth Patterson QC, for Mr Pigeard’s family, reminded the witness of her statement in which she said: “As he was stabbed, the attacker was looking around as if to find the next person to stab.

“I remember thinking: ‘I’m going to die’.”

Mr Patterson asked: “Is that how you felt, is that why you ran?”

She agreed.

The lawyer added: “You said the whole thing was horrific.”

Mr Pigeard’s colleague, Dimitri Gabriel, ran with him to the steps after the van crashed into railings above the Boro Bistro.

Mr Gabriel turned back when he heard screams and ushered customers down an alleyway.

He told the inquest that Mr Pigeard’s last words to him were: “Let’s go up and see what happened, maybe there is an accident on the bridge.”

Around seven minutes later, Mr Gabriel found his colleague lying in front of the restaurant.

The witness said there were no signs of life.

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