A Derry woman has spoken of the shocking moment terrorist killers stormed the London restaurant she was in and stabbed a teenager sitting just two tables away.
Amy Webster (26) and her partner Ryan Davies were with two friends in a small Mexican restaurant on Saturday night when the three terrorists ran inside and launched the sickening attack.
The three men wearing fake suicide bomb vests had targeted the Borough Market restaurant as part of a killing spree that has left seven people dead and 48 injured, 21 of them critically so.
Amy told the Journal: “We were out for the day and met up with some friends. We had a few drinks and got to the restaurant about 10pm. We ordered some food and about 10 minutes later everything just kicked off.
“We were near the door ourselves and everything seemed to happen so fast.
“At first I thought it was a fight – there was glass and chairs chucked around in all directions.”
Amy and Ryan were among around just 30 people inside the small restaurant at the time.
Ryan later told her he glimpsed one of the attackers holding up a knife.
Amy said she was astounded by how quickly the brave restaurant staff reacted, managing to force the attackers outside the restaurant and secure the premises.
“Everyone was running to the back of the place, and it is only a wee tiny restaurant.
“We ran to the back and out the back door but there was a fence so we were fenced in.”
It then became apparent that a teenage girl who had been sitting at a table next to the front door – just two tables away from Amy and her friends – had been stabbed in the midriff by the attackers.
“We waited about 10 minutes and thought that was it, and we were all trying to figure out what to do and then we heard shots outside.”
Police officers had opened fire on the suspects outside, killing all three.
It would be anxious two hours before those inside the restaurant were given the all clear.
Amy said: “The girl who was stabbed had lost a lot of blood and was exhausted. We couldn’t get her to an ambulance.
“There were two people who had been giving her first aid and everyone was doing what they could to help.
“The staff were just incredible, they were making sure we were all okay. They were absolutely incredible and we owe our lives to them.
“The whole way through, everyone pulled together, looking after each other. It was amazing to see that.
“There were some of them tourists and this was their first day in London. This was their first impression.
“We knew as well there were people outside and there was nothing we could do.
“The armed police then came and banged on the door. There was a bit of an exchange between the manager and the police because at this stage we still didn’t know what was going on. We decided to let them in and they came in shouting ‘put your hands on your head’ and told us to leave the restaurant. When we got outside there was another one shouting ‘keep your hands on your head and keep walking.’
“We saw blood outside a couple of different pubs. That was horrible. It was so scary, the police were pointing guns at us - for all they knew there might be another terrorist in the restaurant.”
Before they were released, the other diners also related how they, like Ryan, had seen one of the killers with a large knife. After Amy left the restaurant, her family back in Derry made contact with her and she was able to tell them she had got out safe.
Speaking about her experience she said: “It was a bit crazy, bit surreal. It was the scariest thing I have ever experienced.”
And this is not the first major incident Amy has been caught up in. Two years ago she and her boyfriend were on Mount Everest in Nepal when an avalanche struck, trapping them on the mountain for several days.
Shortly after returning from Nepal, the couple moved to London and Amy works there as a scientist.
“We live in South London but to get home we would have to go through all the other areas affected and we were being advised to go north so we stayed with our friends in Hackney,” she added.
Amy said she and her friends were shocked when they learned the true extent of the harrowing events that had unfolded in London on Saturday night.
“Once we got our heads around it, we realised we were lucky to get out and we weren’t hurt. It could have been a lot worse and we are both thinking a lot about the people who weren’t as lucky as we were.”
And she also paid tribute to the bravery of the emergency services on the ground in London on the night.
“This showcased the worst of humanity, but it also brought out the best in humanity,” she said.