ishmongers’ Hall terrorist Usman Khan was “reciting the Koran” when he stabbed to death one of the victims, the inquest has heard.
Housekeeper Ama Otchere said she saw “anger in his face” when Khan emerged from the gents toilets moments after fatally stabbing Jack Merritt.
The attacker came towards her brandishing a knife, which he plunged into the neck of Saskia Jones as she was checking her coat into the cloakroom.
Ms Otchere told the hearing this morning she heard a scream from the toilets, and then came face-to-face with Khan when she went to investigate.
“You could see the anger in his face”, she said.
“He was coming towards me – his attention was on me.
“I saw the lady come into the cloakroom, he used the knife to stab the lady’s shoulder. I turned and ran.”
She said Ms Jones was not aware of Khan’s approach, and let out a scream after she was stabbed.
Asked if Khan was saying anything, she told jurors: “He was reciting the Koran.”
Ms Otchere said she knew he was speaking Arabic, she did not recognise specific verses, but insisted: “It was the Koran.”
Earlier, a retired judge described the chaotic and panicked scenes inside Fishmongers’ Hall as terrorist Khan began his killing spree.
Judge John Samuels QC was a guest at the Learning Together event on November 29, 2019, when Khan stabbed to death Cambridge graduates Mr Merritt, 25, and Ms Jones, 23, and wounded three others.
Giving evidence at the inquests, Judge Samuels said he realised something had happened when he heard “male shouts, followed by female screams” coming from downstairs.
Judge Samuels, who knew Mr Merritt through their work together helping prisoners, said he saw Ms Jones collapsed on the stairs as he looked down from the balcony above.
“Her face was chalk-white, she appeared unconscious to me or even dead”, he said. “My view of the female was obstructed by a male who was behind her, who was carrying an object across his chest above his head. I couldn’t at that time identify precisely what it was, but it appeared to be being used as some kind of weapon.”
He described a “confused mass of people” in the banqueting hall as word of the attack began to spread, and the emergency services were alerted.
“There were shouts along the lines of ‘there’s a bomb’, and further shouts and screams and someone said we had to evacuate the building now”, he added.
Khan was ultimately shot dead on London Bridge by armed police. The inquest has heard he claimed earlier in the day to have turned away from the “wrong path”.
The inquest continues.