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London Bridge: Polish kitchen worker 'ran to fight terrorist alone', suffering five wounds while allowing others to escape

The i logo The i 2 days ago
a stone building that has a sign on a brick wall © Provided by The i

A Polish kitchen worker armed with only a stick fought alone with terrorist Usman Khan, suffering five stab wounds as he  secured vital time for people to escape the London Bridge attack, it was revealed on Monday. 

The worker - named only as Lukasz - was one of several staff at the Fishmongers Hall, where Khan had been attending a conference on offender rehabilitation, who confronted the Islamist as he carried out his attack armed with two knives.

Commodore Toby Williamson, chief executive of the hall which operates as a conference venue, described how Lukasz responded to screams as Khan began his attack shortly before 2pm on Friday by dashing from the basement where he was cleaning glasses to confront the attacker. 

Mr Williamson told BBC News: “The scream was so loud that, as a first aider, [Lukasz] makes a choice - he goes towards the trouble. He gets there… and it’s pretty clear that there’s a bad guy. He’s got two knives in his hands and there’s blood, there’s screaming, there’s chaos.”

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Improvised weapon

The shadow of a passer-by is photographed at the scene of a fatal attack on London Bridge in London. (Photo: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls)

After grabbing a stick from the wall, Lukasz attempted to disable the terrorist by running at him with the improvised weapon. But after the stick bounced off what is now known to have been Khan’s hoax suicide vest, Mr Williamson said the Polish national found himself in hand-to-hand fighting with the Islamist.

Mr Williamson said: “[Lukasz] is buying time. He allows others to escape, to move to adjacent rooms. At that point, he’s got about a minute, one-on-one straight combat. This guy we now know by the name of Khan, he works his way up Lukasz’s pole, slashing with his knife and he takes five wounds to his left side.”

Providing the most detailed account yet of events inside the venue where Khan had been attending a fifth anniversary event for the Learning Together project helping to rehabilitate prisoners, Mr Williamson said two men working for the charity then stepped in to help Lukasz - one armed with a fire extinguisher and the other with a narwhal tusk.

Forensic officers walk outside a property, which is being searched in connection with stabbing on London Bridge, in Stoke-on-Trent, Britain, December 1, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls © Thomson Reuters Forensic officers walk outside a property, which is being searched in connection with stabbing on London Bridge, in Stoke-on-Trent, Britain, December 1, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Outnumbered

Khan at this point decided he was outnumbered and sought to flee the building, descending its main staircase to a reception area where staff were in the process of closing doors to seal the building.

Here Khan confronted two women working in the cloakroom before holding his knife to the chest of a maintenance man, named only as Andy, and demanding that he be allowed to return to the street.

After stabbing the maintenance man and securing access to the street, Khan was pursued with Lucasz leading the charge.

Flower tributes are left in memory of Jack Merritt, pictured, who is the first victim named after Friday's terror attack on London Bridge in London, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019.  A man wearing a fake suicide vest was subdued by bystanders as he went on a knife rampage killing two people and wounding others before being shot dead by police on Friday. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali) © ASSOCIATED PRESS Flower tributes are left in memory of Jack Merritt, pictured, who is the first victim named after Friday's terror attack on London Bridge in London, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. A man wearing a fake suicide vest was subdued by bystanders as he went on a knife rampage killing two people and wounding others before being shot dead by police on Friday. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Mobile phone footage

A couple place a bouquet of flowers on London Bridge [Photo: Getty]Mr Williamson said: “The first one after him is Lucasz shouting at everyone to get out of  the way, get back. But I tell you what, members of the public just don’t do that nowadays. They do what they need to do. The man with the fire extinguisher, the man with the narwhal tusk, they’re all in there.”

Subsequent mobile phone footage placed on social media recorded how the group, said to include a convicted killer, gathered around Khan, grappling him to the ground until armed City of London police officers arrived at the scene.

As it became apparent to those officers that Khan was wearing what appeared to be a suicide belt, the members of the public were pulled away and two shots were fired at the terrorist as he appeared to be trying to get back on his feet.

It was reported that the Polish government is planning to honour Lukasz for his actions. There have also been calls for all those who confronted Khan, including Lukasz, to receive the George Medal, Britain’s highest award for civilian bravery.

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