Heartbreaking Final Moments Of Australians Murdered During London Terror Attack
Australians Sara Zelenak and Kirsty Boden were killed in the London Bridge terror attack after both made the fatal decision to check on the scene rather than flee.
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.
The van struck first struck Frenchman Xavier Thomas, 45, who died after being thrown into the river, with 30-year-old Canadian Chrissy Archibold struck and killed moments after.
Detective Superintendent Rebecca Riggs told the Old Bailey on Tuesday that Zelenak, of Queensland, was walking down steps nearby with a friend when they heard the van crash into a railing and turned back to see what happened.
The Queenslander was viciously stabbed in the neck and body by Butt and the others.
Just around the corner 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.
In the meantime, the attackers knifed French chef Sebastian Belanger, 36, before stabbing 26-year-old French waiter Alexandre Pigeard, who the South Australian Boden then started to treat.
"Whilst Kirsty was trying to assist she was also attacked," Detective Inspesctor Riggs told the inquest.
After being stabbed in the chest by Butt, Boden 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," Judge Lucraft said.
Boden's English partner James Holler said her brave actions that summer night would not have seemed unusual for everyone who knew her.
"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."
The attackers went on to kill 32-year-old British web educator James McMullan and Spanish money laundering analyst Ignacio Echeverria, 39, who died trying to defend a woman by fighting off the trio with his skateboard.
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.
Zelenak's mother Julie Wallace said that night "every sliding door slid for Sara to be in harm's way", echoing the sentiments of many victims' families.
Tragically 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.
"Everyone that knew Sarz or lived in our town in the Redlands, Queensland, Australia has been affected. No one has ever died from a terrorist attack in the Redlands," Wallace said.
"That only happens on TV in another country.
"It couldn't be real, I thought. Well, unfortunately, it does happen and it's a world problem."
The inquest is expected to run for about eight weeks.