‘They were shot a few metres away from us’: York graduate tells of being caught up in London horror

People run down Borough High Street as police evacuate the area during the terror attack. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski /PA
4 Jun 2017 @ 9.49 pm
| Crime, News

A York graduate told today how she was caught up in the middle of the London terror attack.

Marie Poupinel was hiding in a London bar when the attackers were shot by police just metres away.

Seven people were killed and 48 injured when a van mowed into pedestrians on London Bridge on Saturday night (June 3) – and then the three men inside indiscriminately stabbed people in nearby Borough Market.

Marie, who recently graduated in English Literature and history at the University of York, was in the Katzenjammers Bierhall in Borough Market when the attack happened.

‘They ordered us to get down’

A video taken inside Katzenjammers showing police inside during the London Bridge attack

Twenty-two year-old Marie, who is originally from Paris, was staying in London for the weekend to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

“We had been milling around Borough Market since four in the afternoon, bar hopping essentially just enjoying a casual care free sunny Saturday evening,” she said.

The first she knew of what was happening came when a friend rejoined her in Katzenjammers.

“A friend of mine had been outside smoking and had noticed blood smeared on the pavement a few meters away. Then armed police ordered him to get back in ushering him and the bouncers inside.

Police officers with riot shields on Borough High Street. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski /PA

“He immediately rounded up our party and told us what he had seen heard, and that police were inside the building.

“Something was happening. We didn’t know what it was but it was no game, very real.

“We then headed to the furthest booth down the hall and sat there waiting for something to occur, for orders to come in, for news to be broke to us.

“Moments later three armed policemen with bullet proof vests and anti-stab protective gear stormed in bellowing ‘get down’, ordering us to shield ourselves under the tables.”

Very close

Marie Poupinel

Marie, who was politics deputy editor for university newspaper Nouse as well as chair of WikiStage York, said she didn’t see the attackers – but they came very close.

A friend heard the gunshots when the police shot and killed the three attackers.

“Later we were looking at the BBC maps charting where every incident took place and I can confirm that the assailants were shot a few metres from our bar’s front door. That was the distance between us and them.”

Police inside Katzenjammers bar where Marie was. Photograph: James Yates on Twitter

She explained what happened next.

We were ordered to duck down stay low. There was a huge commotion and confusion as police officers thought that one of the attackers could potentially be amongst us.

A search ensued an officer was patrolling the area checking the toilets and exits. We stayed there crouched for I don’t know how many minutes but it was a relatively long wait.

The beer hall was packed as you can imagine so everyone had dived for safety towards the booths and central tables, everybody was on top of one another.

The atmosphere was that of solidary and everybody tended to the other, and made sure your neighbour was ok and so forth.

The entire hall was unbelievably calm and composed listening to officers orders and waiting for the next step. The bar staff were distributing bottles of water also which was such a appreciated snd thoughtful gesture.

All of a sudden we were asked to get up and ushered through an emergency staircase located at the back left corner of the hall.

We were evacuated st the speed of light, everything went very fast.

Police had cordoned off the pavement, ambulances were dashing by, sirens whirring, and we were asked to run, run, keep running in the opposite direction, our backs to London Bridge.

While running we stumbled upon a single lady’s shoe strewn in the middle of the road.

A couple of metres away was what I take to be a woman lying on the opposite pavement on her right side covered by a survival aluminium coloured sheet with medics tending to her.

‘Shock and disbelief’

Thankfully neither Marie nor any of her friends were hurt.

They were left in “utter bewilderment and shock and disbelief”.

Marie said: “It was very real and we re still processing it and continue asking ourselves a series of ‘what if..’ questions.”

She praise “the emergency and security units’ amazing response – swift, nimble and disciplined.”