Brave witness tells of confrontation with soldier's attackers
A PASSER-BY has given a shocking first hand account of her encounter with the two men who allegedly murdered a soldier in Woolwich on Wednesday.
Cub scout leader Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, 48, from Cornwall, confronted the suspects and asked them to hand over their weapons, telling them: "right now it is only you versus many people, you are going to lose."
Mrs Loyau-Kennett was travelling past the gruesome scene on a number 53 bus as the attack was taking place.
"Being a cub leader I have my first aid so when I saw this guy on the floor I thought it was an accident - then I saw the guy was dead and I could not feel any pulse.
"And then when I went up there was this black guy with a revolver and a kitchen knife, he had what looked like butcher's tools and he had a little axe, to cut the bones, and two large knives, and he said 'move off the body'.
"So I thought 'OK, I don't know what is going on here' and he was covered with blood. I thought I had better start talking to him before he starts attacking somebody else. I thought these people usually have a message so I said, 'what do you want?'
"I asked him if he did it and he said yes, and I said: 'Why?' And he said because he has killed Muslim people in Muslim countries, he said he was a British solider and I said, really? And he said: 'I killed him because he killed Muslims and I am fed up with people killing Muslims in Afghanistan, they have nothing to do there."'
She added that the attacker seemed "in full control of his decisions and ready to do everything he wanted to do. I said, 'Right now it is only you versus many people, you are going to lose, what would you like to do?' and he said: 'I would like to stay and fight."
She then approached the other suspect in a bid to convince him to hand over his weapons. "The other one was much shier and I went to him and I said 'well, what about you? Would you like to give me what you have in your hands?' I did not want to say weapons but I thought it was better having them aimed on one person like me rather than everybody there, children were starting to leave school as well."
Terror in Britain: Attackers tried to behead and disembowel soldier
Terrorism returned to the streets of Britain on Wednesday, local time, as a soldier was murdered by two suspected Islamists who attempted to behead and disembowel him as he left his barracks, in the first deadly attack since the 2005 London bombings.
One of the suspected killers, who addressed an onlooker with a camera, said the pair had carried out the attack "because David Cameron, (the) British government sent troops in Arabic country".
As pedestrians stood close by the armed men, he went on: "We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you," according to footage obtained by ITV News.
The soldier was ambushed by the two men as he left the base in Woolwich, south-east London, who attacked him and then dragged his body into the middle of the road to pose for photographs while standing over him waving a machete and a gun, according to witnesses.
Mr Cameron was cutting short a meeting with European leaders to chair a meeting of the emergency committee Cobra today as police and security services investigate whether the two men - later shot and wounded by police - were working alone or part of a bigger group.
"It's the most appalling crime," he told reporters in Paris. "We are obviously urgently seeking the full facts but there are strong indications that it's a terrorist incident."
He said that they were looking at every aspect of security for troops across Britain, but he added: "The best way to defeat terrorism is to make sure you continue to live your life and make sure that terrorism never wins."
London Mayor Boris Johnson added: "This afternoon's attack in Woolwich is a sickening, deluded and unforgiveable act of violence."
The Independent understands the dead soldier - who was wearing a Help for Heroes T-shirt - was a member of another regiment, currently based overseas.
Only hours after the attack was carried out, video footage of one of the suspected killers emerged. With his hands bloodied and carrying a cleaver, he is seen telling the bystander with a camera: "I apologise that women had to witness this today but in our lands our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your governments - they don't care about you."
The man, who spoke English without a foreign accent, then saunters back across the road towards his victim lying in the street to join his apparent accomplice.
The two men made no attempt to escape and charged a police car carrying an armed response team when it arrived at the scene about 15 minutes after the killing, according to a witness.
"The black guy ran at them with a meat cleaver before it stopped and he was right by the car when they shot him," said Julia Wilders, 51, who lived close by. The second man, who had a gun, was also shot, she said.
The men were taken to separate hospitals by air ambulance and ambulance last night but they were expected to survive their injuries, according to police.
The men were believed to have waited outside the Woolwich barracks of the 2nd Battalion Princess of Wales Royal Regiment, which has deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, where one of its members, Sergeant Johnson Beharry, won the VC.
Witnesses suggested that he left the barracks on foot when he was attacked in an apparently pre-arranged ambush. Witness Graham Wilders said it appeared the man had been rammed by a car and was attacked while he was propped up against a wall of a block of flats.
One witness, identified only as James, said he and his partner saw two black men attack a young man aged around 20 in a Help for Heroes T-shirt with kitchen knives like he was "a piece of meat".
"They were hacking at this poor guy, literally," he told LBC Radio, adding that a group of brave women tryied to shield the soldier from the two men.
"They were hacking at him, chopping him, cutting him. These two guys were crazed. They were just animals. They dragged him from the pavement and dumped his body in the middle of the road and left his body there."
Children returning from a school trip were kept locked inside nearby Mulgrave Primary School while the police operation played out.
Home Secretary Theresa May is chairing a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee after briefings from Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and the Director General of the Security Service, Andrew Parker.
Although there has been no official confirmation, Whitehall sources have indicated they are working on the assumption that the murder is terrorist-related.
"It has been confirmed to me that a man has been brutally murdered this afternoon in South East London. Two other men were shot by armed police and they are currently receiving treatment for their injuries….This is a sickening and barbaric attack," Mrs May said.
Police had set up a series of cordons around the scene with extra police patrols in the area and helicopters crossing the skies overhead. The Independent Police Complaints Commission said it sent 12 investigators to the scene to investigate the police shooting after reports of at least six shots being fired.
Islamists have threatened a number of times to behead a British soldier in retaliation for involvement in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Six years ago a group of British Pakistanis based in Birmingham were convicted of plotting such an attack and their leader, Parviz Khan, received a life sentence.
Khan admitted planning to lure the soldier off the streets then film his beheading. He was described in court as having the "most violent and extreme Islamist views" and his aim was to deter any Muslim from joining the British Army.