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London Bridge attacks: Family of ringleader ‘unconvincing witnesses’, coroner says | UK News

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The family of one of the terrorists behind the London Bridge attack have been described as unconvincing witnesses by a coroner.

The widow, brother-in-law, brother and sister of Khuram Butt have all given evidence during the inquest into the deaths of those killed on 3 June 2017.

Mark Lucraft QC, chief coroner for England and Wales, told the Old Bailey on Friday the four family members had known “something of his extreme views” and that they should have done more at the time.

The attack in June 2017 killed 8 people in the London Bridge area of the capital
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The attack in June 2017 killed eight people in the London Bridge area of the capital

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

“I have to say, I didn’t find any of them convincing witnesses. Each has accepted that they should now have done more at the time.”

Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, killed eight people and injured 48 more when they drove into people in a van on the night of the attack before targeting bystanders with 12 inch knives in Borough Market.

L-R: London Bridge attackers Rachid Redouane, Khuram Butt and Youssef Zaghba
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L-R: London Bridge attackers Rachid Redouane, Khuram Butt and Youssef Zaghba

Zahrah Rehman, Butt’s widow; Usman Darr, his brother-in-law; Haleema Butt, his sister, and Saad Butt, his brother, all said during the inquest that they should have intervened before the attack took place, although the latter claimed that he had been monitoring his sibling.

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But Mr Lucraft added: “Whilst I can understand the pressures on Saad Butt through the death of his own daughter, it seems to me that on the basis of what he accepted he did know of his brother and the worrying views he was espousing, he did very little, if anything, to accurately monitor his brother’s movements.”

One of the knives used. Pic: Met Police
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One of the knives used

Khuram Butt went on to be the ringleader of the attack, which claimed the lives of Xavier Thomas, 45; Christine Archibald, 30; Sara Zelenak, 21; Sebastien Belanger, 36; James McMullan, 32; Kirsty Boden, 28; Alexandre Pigeard, 26, and Ignacio Echeverria, 39.

Ms Zelenak toppled over in her high heels as she was set upon by the men, who then turned on Mr McMullan as he tried to help her up.

TOPSHOT - Police officers and members of the emergency services attend to a person injured in an apparent terror attack on London Bridge in central London on June 3, 2017.
Armed police fired shots after reports of stabbings and a van hitting pedestrians on London Bridge on Saturday in an incident reminiscent of a terror attack in March just days ahead of a general election. / AFP PHOTO / DANIEL SORABJI        (Photo credit should read DANIEL SORABJI/AFP/Getty Images)
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Armed police fired shots after reports of stabbings and a van hitting pedestrians

Ms Boden, a nurse, was stabbed after she went to the aid of Frenchman Mr Pigeard, and Mr Echeverria was fatally injured as he fended off the attackers with his skateboard.

Butt, failed asylum seeker Redouane and Zaghba also struck Mr Belanger before they were shot dead by police marksmen within 10 minutes of their rampage getting underway.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 03:  Ambulances heads north from London Bridge on June 3, 2017 in London, England. Police have responded to reports of a van hitting pedestrians on London Bridge in central London.  (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
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Ambulances head north from London Bridge on the night

Police officers are among the other witnesses to have given evidence during the inquest, as have medics and members of the public who tried to help.

The families of the victims have also spoken to raise their concerns over “alarming” gaps in intelligence by MI5 and counter-terrorism police, with Butt having formed a close association with Islamic State supporter Anjem Choudary and having appeared on documentary The Jihadi Next Door.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 04: Debris is strewn outside a cafe near London Bridge on June 4, 2017 in London, England. Police responded to what they are calling terrorist attacks on London Bridge and Borough Market where at least 20 people were injured and one person was killed. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
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Debris is strewn outside a cafe near London Bridge

He trained at Ummah gym most evenings with Redouane and Zaghba, who previously told Italian police that he was travelling to Turkey “to be a terrorist”, and spent most afternoons teaching the Koran at Ad Deen Primary School – both of which the MI5 were said to have been unaware of for months.

Intelligence on Butt was so limited that a month before the attack he was moved from a medium risk to an unresolved one, with an investigation into him having been suspended due to a lack of resources and other important probes.

The families have also questioned why there were no barriers on London Bridge to protect pedestrians three months after the Westminster Bridge attack, and have called for measures to prevent terror suspects hiring vans and using them in mass attacks.

The coroner – who summed up the evidence on Friday – is due to record a conclusion in a few weeks.

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