Belfast Telegraph

London attacks: It was one of the scariest nights of my life, says NI witnesses caught up in horror

By Staff Reporters

A waitress from Northern Ireland has told of her terror during the horrific weekend attack in London, describing it as "one of the scariest nights of my life".

Cookstown woman Alex Reid was working as a waitress at one of the restaurants right in the middle of the area where the attacks were taking place.

She posted an emotional message on Facebook yesterday, saying she never thought she would have been caught up in such an incident.

"I have no words for the events that happened on London Bridge last night," she wrote.

"I never thought I would be in the middle of something like that, having to keep a restaurant of people calm when you're full on freaking out.

"It had to have been one of the scariest nights of my life."

Model Rebekah Wallace (24), from Portadown, was staying in a Travelodge hotel just yards from the scene of Saturday's terror attack.

She and colleague Gerard Lavery from the CMPR model agency had been working on a film shoot in the capital.

They were planning to celebrate after wrapping up the assignment when the terrorists began their rampage.

"It was scary. We were all on edge. We could hear the sirens. At least 10 ambulances passed us heading towards London Bridge - and within five minutes all the local bars were closed, and the Tube lines were closed too.

"It was really strange. One minute everything was normal, next minute everything was like a ghost town. The mood completely changed."

Gerard (23) said the CMPR team had been socialising in the Borough Market area the night before the attack.

"It was a very sociable area, very cosmopolitan, everybody was friendly," he said.

But everything changed when the terrorists struck.

"We'd just left the hotel when everything went in to lockdown - Tubes, taxis, everything,

"It was crazy. Ambulances were coming flying by, police and ambulances constantly. We didn't really understand the scale of what was going on.

"It was just really kind of scary seeing it all," the Magherafelt man added.

It was only later that he realised he and his colleagues were at the centre of a terrorist attack.

"You never really think you're going to be that person," he said.

"But you can't live your life in fear. You really can't. That's what I've gathered from it - but it's still really a lot to take in.

"It's been pretty mad."

Another visitor to the capital, Pamela, from Belfast, had been on the London Underground with her 12-year-old son when the attacks took place. "We had been on the Underground when it happened and had been due to get off at London Bridge but the Tube didn't stop and went on to the next stop," she told BBC Radio Five Live. "So we got off at the next stop to try and figure out where we were going to go.

"They then shouted evacuate, evacuate and we all had to run up the stairs - that was probably the most frightening thing."

They had been staying at the Ibis hotel in Southwark, but when they returned there, it was evacuated by police.

"We had just got through the cordons into the hotel when the police rushed in and told everyone to get out and set the fire alarms off and sent us all out," she told the BBC.

"We went out to run across the bridge, they just kept shouting 'run, run'.

"So we all just ran across the bridge.

"It was terrible.

"The Crown Plaza Hotel put us up on the floor, there was about 100 people, we slept on the floor with towels around us last night.

"We have had no sleep, obviously we are exhausted but at least we are safe."

People staying in the Premier Inn Bankside crossed Southwark Bridge to a nearby hotel.

Dozens, including children, were brought across the bridge by police after the fire alarm in the hotel went off, according to one.

Samuel Templeton, from Belfast, one of the guests in the hotel, said there was a heavy police presence and they were told to cross the bridge in single file.

Belfast Telegraph


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