South London attack a possible terrorism act

Last updated 10:50 23/05/2013

British PM calls emergency security meeting after the killing of a man in south London. Amateur video captured the immediate aftermath of the attack. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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Footage showing two men with machetes and meat cleavers following the attack. Pictured left, mother of two Ingrid Loyau-Kennett confronts one of the men and tells him: "It is only you versus many and you are going to lose."
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HEROIC ACTION: Mother of two Ingrid Loyau-Kennett confronted one of the men and told him: "It is only you versus many and you are going to lose."

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A mother of two confronted the men accused of hacking a British soldier to death in a suspected terror attack in the south London borough of Woolwich.

''You people will never be safe,'' a man with bloodied hands carrying a machete and knife told a nearby cameraman following the incident, while a body is seen lying on the road in the background.

He added: "I apologise that women have had to witness this today, but in our land our women have to see the same... Remove your government, they don't care about you."

The BBC reported the attackers chanted "Allah Akbar", which means "God is great" in Arabic. Their victim was a UK soldier and his killing has prompted a rise in security at all military barracks.

The pair were shot by police and are now in hospital. One is in a serious condition.

In much of the footage now being broadcast across the world, a blonde mother-of-two can be seen engaging one of the killers.

She told The Telegraph of how she selflessly risked her own life to try and persuade the man to hand over his weapons. 

Cub scout leader Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, 48, from Cornwall, witnessed the attack from a bus and jumped off to check the victim's pulse.

"Being a cub leader I have my first aid, so when I saw this guy on the floor I thought it was an accident then I saw the guy was dead and I could not feel any pulse.

"And then when I went up there was this black guy with a revolver and a kitchen knife, he had what looked like butcher's tools and he had a little axe, to cut the bones, and two large knives and he said 'move off the body'," she told the Telegraph.

"So I thought 'OK, I don't know what is going on here' and he was covered with blood. I thought I had better start talking to him before he starts attacking somebody else. I thought these people usually have a message so I said 'what do you want?'

"I asked him if he did it and he said 'yes' and I said why? And he said because he has killed Muslim people in Muslim countries, he said he was a British solider and I said really and he said 'I killed him because he killed Muslims and I am fed up with people killing Muslims in Afghanistan they have nothing to do there'."  

Loyau-Kennett told The Telegraph the man she spoke to was not high on drugs and was in full control of his decisions.

"I said 'right now it is only you versus many people, you are going to lose, what would you like to do?' and he said I would like to stay and fight."


A witness told London's LBC radio: "These two guys were crazed. They were just animals. They dragged him from the pavement and dumped his body in the middle of the road and left his body there."

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A trail of blood could be seen in front of a crashed car.

The witness said after the "horrendous" attack, the two men stood around, waving knives and a gun, and asked people to take pictures of them "as if they wanted to be on TV or something".

"They were oblivious to anything, they were more worried about having their photo taken, running up and down the road," he said. 

The witness said a group of very brave women tried to protect the murdered man's body as the two accused stood behind them, with weapons still in their hands.

Witnesses at the scene said the victim was wearing a Help for Heroes T-shirt, which are sold to raise money for injured soldiers.

Police said armed officers responded to reports of the assault today just a few blocks from a military training barracks in southeast London.

Commander Simon Letchford said reports indicated that one man was being assaulted by two other men, and that a number of weapons - including possibly a firearm - were used in the attack.

He confirmed that one man was found dead at the scene and that two men were shot by police and taken to separate London hospitals. One of them is in serious condition, according to London Ambulance Service.


Prime Minister David Cameron called the killing "truly shocking" and said he had asked Home Secretary Theresa May to call an urgent meeting of the government's emergency committee, Cobra (Cabinet Office briefing room A).

Cameron said in a tweet: "We will never buckle to terror."

A British government official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak about the investigation, said the details that had emerged were indicative of a "terrorist-motivated attack".

May said she had been briefed by Britain's domestic security service, MI5, and by police on what she called a "sickening and barbaric" attack.

London Mayor Boris Johnson, who will also attend the Emergency Committee meeting, condemned the attack as "a sickening, deluded and unforgivable act of violence", The Telegraph reported.

''I am afraid it is overwhelmingly likely now to be a terrorist attack, the kind the city has seen before,'' Johnson said in televised remarks.

A meeting by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), which includes members from MI5, MI6, GCHQ, the police and Ministry of Defence, will decide whether to change Britain's threat level, which is now considered "substantial".

According to the Guardian, JTAC would also discuss how to deal with a new threat of "lone wolf" terrorism - where individuals, not affiliated with known terrorist groups normally monitored by MI5 or police, slip through the nets.

According to The Guardian, Labour leader Ed Miliband  has cut short a visit to Germany to return to the UK. He said the opposition party would work with the government to make sure the killers faced justice.

"This is a truly appalling murder which will shock the entire country. All of my thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim.

"The Labour party will offer the government our complete support in establishing the facts of what happened and ensuring that those responsible face the full force of British justice." 


Far right group English Defence League (EDL) has called for people to gather in Woolwich to protest against the attack.

The protesters, believed to be "anti Muslim", gathered on a street in Woolwich, near where the attack took place.

According to ITV, a large police presence was gathering. About 40 demonstrators were said to have rushed police.

Meanwhile, two people have reportedly been arrested for attacking mosques in Essex and Kent.


- AP

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