London Bridge inquest finds ringleader's family 'did not report multiple warning signs'

Elias Hubbard
June 29, 2019

Today the coroner declared the police could have erected more physical barriers on London Bridge, but he also ruled that the police and MI5 did not miss any chances to save lives, even though the ringleader had been on a watch list since 2015.

Six families of those killed had asked the coroner to criticise the actions of police and security services, by concluding that the attack could have been prevented if the planning by the terrorists had been better detected.

The inquest into the eight victims who died in the June 2017 van and knife attack is expected to end on Friday.

He made a point of singling out Saad Butt, who Lucraft said was in a "different position" to the other family members because he was involved in the Prevent programme as a member of an organisation called the Young Muslim Advisory Group.

No protective barriers had been put in place along the bridge, despite a similar attack on Westminster Bridge three months earlier.

Mr Lucraft said the lack of barriers showed "weaknesses in systems for assessing the need for such measures. and implementing them promptly" - and this was an "arguable" breach of duty by the police.

"I think this attack could have been prevented", he said, citing the lack of protection along the bridge as one factor.

"All of the family knew something of his extreme views", he said.

During the last eight weeks, the inquest has also heard of extraordinary acts of bravery by members of the public and off-duty medics who rushed to help. "Each has accepted that they should now have done more at the time".

Standing next to Ms Kennett outside court, Mr Pigeard said: "I want to thank so much Helen for her courage". Those stabbed to death were Sara Zelenak, 21, an Australian au pair, Sébastien Bélanger, 36, a French chef, James McMullan, 32, from Brent, north-west London, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, a French waiter, Kirsty Boden, 28, a nurse from Australia, and Ignacio Echeverría Miralles De Imperial, 39, from Spain, an analyst for HSBC.

"We are aware there were lots of missed opportunities to identify one of the attackers who was known to be very risky".

The 43-year-old was accused of helping to train the 7/7 bombers in a 2006 trial, while MI5 told the London Bridge inquests he held.

MI5, which takes the lead in identifying terrorist suspects and plots, denies the attack was preventable.

"With regards to the investigation itself and with the benefit of hindsight -we know certain things could've been done differently, but after careful consideration, [the] pre-attack investigation was nonetheless thorough and rigorous", he said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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