Devoted father killed on London Bridge while on phone to son

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Police at Borough Market following the terror attack in which eight people died (Nick Ansell/PA)

The first victim of the London Bridge terror attack was on the phone to his  teenage son when he was killed, an inquest heard.

Frenchman and devoted father-of-two Xavier Thomas was hit by a van and “catapulted” over the balustrade into the Thames as he walked on the bridge at 10.06pm on June 3 2017.

Seconds before impact, telephone records show the 45-year-old accountant was on the phone to his son Nicolas, then aged 17, the court was told.

Incident at London Bridge
The body of Xavier Thomas was not found until three days after the attack (Metropolitan Police/PA)

His partner of two years, Christine Delcros, was also struck and seriously injured.

Mr Thomas’s glasses were found on the pavement near where he was hit by the van containing three terrorists.

His body was not found until three days later and the cause of death was put down to immersion in the water.

The attackers’ van was travelling at an average speed of 27mph when it veered on to the pavement and also struck 30-year-old Christine Archibald, the inquest was told.

Ms Archibald, who was with her fiance Tyler Ferguson, was dragged down the road under the van’s wheel and then run over, causing multiple injuries.

Incident at London Bridge
(Left to right) Terrorists Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Pakistan-born Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22,  both from Morocco, then crashed into the railings.

The men emerged carrying 12in pink ceramic knives and wearing mock explosive belts.

They continued their rampage on foot, killing four more members of the public in Green Dragon Court near Borough Market.

Sara Zelenak, 21, died from a stab wound to the neck and Sebastien Belanger, 36, was cornered by the attackers and fatally knifed in the chest.

Waiter Alexandre Pigeard, 26, had gone out of Boro Bistro to investigate the crash when he too was stabbed in the neck.

He managed to run back towards the restaurant before he collapsed, the court heard.

Incident at London Bridge
Flowers on London Bridge for the victims of the terror attack (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Nurse Kirsty Boden, 28, who had been out with friends, came to his aide but was also knifed as she attempted to save him.

James McMullan, 32, had been watching the Champions League final with friends in the Barrowboy and Banker pub before he was stabbed in the chest.

The final fatality was Ignacio Echeverria, 39, who was attacked next to Borough High Street.

A total of 48 people were seriously hurt in the onslaught, some of them as they tried to help the stricken victims.

The attackers were shot dead by police just before 10.16pm, 10 minutes after the start of the rampage.

The Old Bailey inquest was shown pictures of the scene as well as images of the knives and fake suicide belts.

Detective Superintendent Rebecca Riggs told the court how the events unfolded before Coroner Mark Lucraft QC adjourned for the day.

The inquest is expected to hear detail of Mr Thomas’s death on Wednesday.

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