Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 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.
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.
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.Nick Ansell/PA Wire
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 23: A security guard directs a police car into Woolwich Barracks on May 23, 2013 in London, England. A British soldier was murdered by suspected Islamists near London's Woolwich Army Barracks yesterday in a savage knife attack. British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that the 'appalling' attack appeared to be terror related. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 23: Security is tightened around Woolwich Barracks on May 23, 2013 in London, England. A British soldier was murdered by suspected Islamists near London's Woolwich Army Barracks yesterday in a savage knife attack. British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that the 'appalling' attack appeared to be terror related. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Floral tributes outside The Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich as anti-terror police were today preparing to question the two men shot and injured after the Woolwich soldier killing as details about their backgrounds began to emerge
Floral tributes outside The Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich as anti-terror police were today preparing to question the two men shot and injured after the Woolwich soldier killing as details about their backgrounds began to emerge. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 23, 2013. See PA story POLICE Woolwich. Photo credit should read: Max Nash/PA Wire
Floral tributes outside The Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich as anti-terror police were today preparing to question the two men shot and injured after the Woolwich soldier killing as details about their backgrounds began to emerge
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 23: A general view of a sign outside Woolwich Royal Artillery Barracks on May 23, 2013 in London, England. A British soldier was murdered by suspected Islamists near London's Woolwich Army Barracks yesterday in a savage knife attack. British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that the 'appalling' attack appeared to be terror related. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 23: Security is tightened around Woolwich Barracks on May 23, 2013 in London, England. A British soldier was murdered by suspected Islamists near London's Woolwich Army Barracks yesterday in a savage knife attack. British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that the 'appalling' attack appeared to be terror related. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
The scene at Woolwich, pictured by @Yusuf_Kayalar/Twitter.
The scene at Woolwich, pictured by @Yusuf_Kayalar/Twitter.
The Royal Artillery Barracks near the scene in Woolwich, south London where a man was killed and two others were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds following a "serious incident" understood to have involved a serving soldier. Nick Ansell/PA Wir
The Royal Artillery Barracks near the scene in Woolwich, south London where a man was killed and two others were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds following a "serious incident" understood to have involved a serving soldier. Nick Ansell/PA Wire
The closed road on Artillery Place near the scene in Woolwich, south London where a man was killed and two others were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds following a "serious incident" understood to have involved a serving soldier. Nick Ansell/PA Wire
The closed road on Artillery Place near the scene in Woolwich, south London where a man was killed and two others were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds following a "serious incident" understood to have involved a serving soldier. Nick Ansell/PA Wire
The closed road on Artillery Place near the scene in Woolwich, south London where a man was killed and two others were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds following a "serious incident" understood to have involved a serving soldier. Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Police activity close to the scene where a man was murdered in John Wilson Street, Woolwich. Nick Ansell/PA Wire
The closed road on Artillery Place near the scene in Woolwich, south London where a man was killed and two others were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds following a "serious incident" understood to have involved a serving soldier. Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Police activity close to the scene where a man was murdered in John Wilson Street, Woolwich. Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Scenes of Crime Officers at the scene in Woolwich following a major incident in which a man was killed, on May 22, 2013 in London, England. It has been reported that the government and police are treating the attack in Woolwich on a serving soldier as a possible terrorist attack. Police have confirmed that one man has died after being attacked in the street by two men and firearms and knives were involved in the incident. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
A floral tribute close to the scene where a man was murdered in John Wilson Street, Woolwich. A major police operation was launched today after two suspected terrorists murdered a man in the street in broad daylight. Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Police activity near a crashed car (rear) with a broken windscreen close to the scene where a man was murdered in John Wilson Street, Woolwich. A major police operation was launched today after two suspected terrorists murdered a man in the street in broad daylight. Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Men lay a floral tribute close to the scene where a man was murdered in John Wilson Street, Woolwich. A major police operation was launched today after two suspected terrorists murdered a man in the street in broad daylight. Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Home Secretary Theresa May arrives for a COBRA security meeting in Downing Street on May 22, 2013 in London, England. It has been reported that the government and police are treating an attack in Woolwich on a serving soldier as a possible terrorist attack. Police have confirmed that one man has died after being attacked in the street by two men and that firearms and knives were involved in the incident. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
Scenes of Crime Officers at the scene in Woolwich following a major incident in which a man was killed, on May 22, 2013 in London, England. It has been reported that the government and police are treating the attack in Woolwich on a serving soldier as a possible terrorist attack. Police have confirmed that one man has died after being attacked in the street by two men and firearms and knives were involved in the incident. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Police near to the scene in Woolwich following a major incident in which a man was killed, on May 22, 2013 in London, England. It has been reported that the government and police are treating the attack in Woolwich on a serving soldier as a possible terrorist attack. Police have confirmed that one man has died after being attacked in the street by two men and firearms and knives were involved in the incident. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Police talk to local residents near to the scene in Woolwich, following a major incident in which a man was killed, on May 22, 2013 in London, England. It has been reported that the government and police are treating the attack in Woolwich on a serving soldier as a possible terrorist attack. Police have confirmed that one man has died after being attacked in the street by two men and firearms and knives were involved in the incident. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
A general view of Woolwich Barracks, near to the scene in Woolwich following a major incident in which a man was killed, on May 22, 2013 in London, England. It has been reported that the government and police are treating the attack in Woolwich on a serving soldier as a possible terrorist attack. Police have confirmed that one man has died after being attacked in the street by two men and firearms and knives were involved in the incident. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Scenes of Crime Officers at the scene in Woolwich following a major incident in which a man was killed, on May 22, 2013 in London, England. It has been reported that the government and police are treating the attack in Woolwich on a serving soldier as a possible terrorist attack. Police have confirmed that one man has died after being attacked in the street by two men and firearms and knives were involved in the incident. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
The Royal Artillery Barracks near the scene in Woolwich, south London where a man was killed and two others were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds following a "serious incident" understood to have involved a serving soldier. Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Police activity close to the scene where a man was murdered in John Wilson Street, Woolwich, south east London
Men lay a floral tribute close to the scene where a man was murdered in John Wilson Street, Woolwich
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."

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