London Bridge attack inquests: Medics ‘did not know where victims were’

Sebastien Belanger

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Metropolitan Police

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No paramedics were sent to help Sebastien Belanger where he lay dying

Medics were not told that three victims of the London Bridge attack needed urgent attention, an inquest has heard.

Andrew Beasley co-ordinated the medical response to the attack on 3 June 2017.

He told the inquest he did not know Sebastien Belanger, James McMullan and Alexandre Pigeard lay mortally wounded in a courtyard near Borough Market.

Earlier, a police officer explained how she had repeatedly asked for paramedics to be sent to help one victim – Mr Belanger – but none came.

The inquest has heard that the scene of the attack was deemed a “hot zone” under London Ambulance Service (LAS) protocol, which prevents paramedics from entering for their own safety.

Mr Beasley said he had parked a short distance away as the safety of his crew on the scene was “paramount”.

After hearing gunfire in Borough Market, he said he wondered ‘am I going to be shot next?’.

“For our own safety we couldn’t go forward,” he told the Old Bailey, which is hearing the inquests into the deaths of the eight people killed in the attack at London Bridge and Borough Market.

Mr Belanger, Mr McMullan and Mr Pigeard were eventually brought to ambulances at a safe meeting point, but were already dead.

‘A lot of pressure’

Mr Belanger, a 36-year-old chef, originally from Angers, western France, had been drinking at the Boro Bistro when he was stabbed in the stomach.

He was one of eight people killed in the attack.

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Press Association

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The victims of the attack clockwise from top left – Chrissy Archibald, James McMullan, Alexandre Pigeard, SĂ©bastien BĂ©langer, Ignacio Echeverria, Xavier Thomas, Sara Zelenak, Kirsty Boden

PC Kerr said she had been a police officer for about a year at the time of the attacks.

She said she came across members of the public giving first aid to Mr Belanger at 22:12 BST.

He had collapsed in Green Dragon Court, below where the attackers’ van had crashed into railings on London Bridge.

After deciding that the group “looked like they knew what they were doing”, PC Kerr drew her baton in case the attackers returned to the area.

“I was the only officer down there for a little while which felt like forever,” she said.

“I’d only had about a year of service so it was a lot of pressure.”

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PA

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PC Kerr was recognised for her bravery during the London Bridge attack

Another police officer and a police medic arrived over the next few minutes, the court heard.

The court heard that no members of the LAS came to the scene to help Mr Belanger, despite PC Kerr calling the Metropolitan Police control room to request paramedics.

Two members of the public and the officers spent more than half an hour performing CPR on Mr Belanger before he was eventually moved up steps to a waiting ambulance at about 22:45 BST, the inquest heard.

‘I just wanted some help’

BBC correspondent Richard Lister, at the inquest

PC Kerr was composed as she told the inquest about how she, another officer and two members of the public fought to revive Sebastien Belanger.

She talked of initially being the only police officer there.

“Time just stood still. I just wanted some help,” she said.

The Belanger family listened intently to their interpreter as PC Kerr described standing guard while Lisa Deacon and Craig Smith did what they could for Mr Belanger.

None of them knew whether the attackers would come back and PC Kerr, who only had a baton for protection said: “I was very aware that where I was standing, I was trying to cover three potential entrances and exits.”

Ambulance service incident response officer Nicholas Lesslar told the court he was unaware there were seriously injured casualties in the courtyard.

Questioning PC Kerr on behalf of the victim’s family, Gareth Patterson QC said: “If you had been told there were LAS [London Ambulance Service] resources available before then, up on the High Street, presumably you would have discussed getting Sebastien up to those ambulances as quickly as possible?”

PC Kerr said: “We would have discussed it, yes.”

Mr Belanger’s mother told the inquest on its opening day that she was “so proud” of him.

‘I nearly stepped on him’

The Old Bailey also heard from a reveller who described how he jumped over a flowerbed and almost trampled on 32-year-old entrepreneur James McMullan.

Andrius Vorobjovas had been celebrating a friend’s birthday at the Boro Bistro on the night of the attack.

When a man emerged wielding a bloody knife, people ran for their lives.

“You could hear the tables moving, glasses smashing, people running,” he told the inquest.

Mr Vorobjovas headed towards some flowerbeds, where he nearly stepped on Mr McMullan, who had been stabbed after coming to the aid of au pair Sara Zelenak.

Mr Vorobjovas said: “I nearly stepped on a person on his belly. I was very shocked and amazed to see someone there because I could not figure out how they got there.”

He added that he hid in the dark passage for some seconds before he ventured out and “decided to make a run for it”.

Mr Vorobjovas said he later directed armed officers back to the courtyard of the Boro Bistro.

The other five people killed in the attack were: Xavier Thomas, 45; Chrissy Archibald, 30; Ignacio Echeverria, 39: Sara Zelenak, 21; and Kirsty Boden, 28.

The inquests into their deaths continues.

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