News World UK court hears Australian terror victims’ final moments

UK court hears Australian terror victims’ final moments

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Sara Zelenak and Kirsty Boden were among eight people to lose their lives in the attack.
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An inquest into the London Bridge terror attack has heard a fatal decision by two Australians cost them their lives on the night terrorists mowed down dozens of pedestrians before stabbing revellers with kitchen knives.

Australians Sara Zelenak and Kirsty Boden were heading toward a crashed van to see what had happened when they were stabbed to death by three men who had launched a sickening attack in the heart of the UK capital.

The 21-year-old nanny and 28-year-old nurse were murdered along with six others by Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba on the night of June 3, 2017.

An inquest into the attacks in London has heard the three attackers used a van to run down dozens of people on the bridge before stabbing dozens more with 30cm ceramic kitchen knives in the nearby Borough Market.

Ms Zelenak was walking down steps nearby with a friend when they heard the van crash into a railing and turned back to see what happened, Detective Superintendent Rebecca Riggs told the inquest.

Sara Zelenak was killed in the terror attack on London Bridge in the UK. Photo: Facebook

The Queenslander had been looking forward to meeting her and her stepfather Mark Wallace in Paris before she was viciously stabbed in the neck and body by Butt and the others.

“Every phone call would end with ‘meet you in Paris, can’t wait to see you guys, miss you so much’,” mother Julie Wallace said.

“On that fatal night, every sliding door slid for Sara to be in harm’s way.”

Ms Zelenak, an au pair, was meant to be working that night but when she wasn’t needed, she and a friend decided to go to a bar.

They originally intended to go to Soho but made a last-minute decision to visit The Borough Market instead, where the attack took place.

“At 10pm Sara’s phone rang and her friend said ‘I’ve finished at the rugby’ and so she left her safe haven at the Grind hotel and walked out into a terrorist attack and was stabbed to death,” Ms Wallace said.

Tragically Ms Zelenak had already escaped terror twice: she’d been at Westminster the day before a terror attack two months earlier and also had a ticket to the Ariana Grande concert that was bombed in Manchester but didn’t go.

Just around the corner Ms Boden, who was having dinner at the Boro Bistro with two friends, also heard the crash.

“Her immediate response was to leave the table where she was sat with her friends and to go to assist as she was a nurse,” England and Wales Chief Coroner Mark Lucraft told the inquest’s opening day.

“Whilst Kirsty (Boden) was trying to assist she was also attacked,” Det Insp Riggs told the inquest.

After being stabbed in the chest by Butt, the South Australian started running towards The Mudlark pub, but she collapsed and died from her injuries.

“The lives of many people were torn apart in what took place in less than 10 minutes of high and terrible drama,” Mr Lucraft said.

Ms Boden’s English partner James Holler said her brave actions that summer night would not have seemed unusual for everyone who knew her.

Kirsty Boden, pictured with partner James Hodder, was killed while trying to help the injured. Photo: Facebook

“To Kirsty it wouldn’t have seemed brave, she loved people and lived her life helping others. To Kirsty her actions that night would have just been an extension of how she lived her life,” he said.

“We are so unspeakably proud of her and not a day goes by that we are not in awe of her bravery that night.”

All eight fatal attacks occurred in a three-minute period, while the attackers were shot dead by police 10 minutes after their van first mounted the curb on the bridge.

The inquest is expected to run for about eight weeks.

-with AAP

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