Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

How I confronted soldier's killers

Suspects: Two men with knifes at scene of Woolwich attack
Suspects: Two men with knifes at scene of Woolwich attack
Video grab taken from ITV News of a man holding weapons by the scene in John Wilson Street, Woolwich where a man was found murdered.
Video grab taken from ITV News of a man holding weapons by the scene in John Wilson Street, Woolwich where a man was found murdered.
Police activity close to the scene where a man was murdered in John Wilson Street, Woolwich

A woman who risked her life to confront an armed man suspected of slaughtering a British soldier in broad daylight has described how she tried to calm him moments after the barbaric attack.

Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, 48, was on a bus heading through Woolwich in south east London when she spotted the stricken soldier lying bloodied in the road. Her bravery - and that of others who tried to reason with the killers - has been praised, particularly in the wake of amateur footage from the scene, which shows one of the two suspects making political statements about the slaughter while still brandishing weapons.

Cub leader Ms Loyau-Kennett, of Helston in Cornwall, told ITV Daybreak she initially thought the victim had been injured in a car crash after spotting a badly damaged vehicle on a pavement at the scene.

She said: "I went to the guy and when I approached the body there was a lady cradling him. And then (one of the killers), the most excited one of the two, said, 'Don't go too close to the body'. I thought, okay. And because I was down I could see a butcher's knife and an axe - that's what he had - and blood. I thought, what the heck? I thought obviously he was a bit excited and the thing was just to talk to him."

Ms Loyau-Kennett said she tried to reason with the killer in an effort to focus his attention away from other potential victims, as large crowds began to huddle at the scene. She said: "I know it's big today but for me it was just a regular guy, just a bit upset. He was not on drugs, he was not drunk.

"He said, 'Don't touch, I killed him'. I said, 'Why?' He said: 'He's a British soldier. He killed people. He killed Muslim people in Muslim countries.'

Ms Loyau-Kennett said: "I wanted him to concentrate on me and make sure he doesn't have a funny idea." Asked if she was scared, the woman replied: "No - better me than a child. Unfortunately there were more and more mothers with children stopping around, so it was even more important I was talking to him and ask him what he wanted."

Lucky Awale, a Muslim who lives in the area, witnessed the attack as she made her way home from local shops with her sister. She said: "When we got near we saw this guy with dark clothes holding the knife and talking like a crazy man, saying 'this Government needs to change', things like that. He wasn't scared, he was saying 'call the police'."

She claimed the men could not be "real Muslims", adding: "For incidents like this to happen in the name of Muslims, it sends the wrong impression to people like the EDL, thinking that Muslims would be like that."

Mrs Awale said her sympathy was with the dead man's family and she was scared that such a violent attack could happen where she lived. She continued: "We are scared as a community today. My sister lives near here and she is scared to come out, she is scared of the EDL and everything. We are just asking for people not to take the wrong impression, the wrong idea, and take revenge on Muslims."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz