An American tourist stabbed in the London Bridge terror attack has thanked police and doctors for saving his life after “flatlining twice”.
Robert Piersant had been to dinner with his son and his wife, Joyce, after a day of sightseeing when he was knifed in the back, head and face.
He and his wife were among the 48 people injured when Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, launched a van and knife attack on June 3 2017. Eight people were killed by the attackers.
In an emotional tribute to those who came to his aid, Mr Piersant singled out a Metropolitan Police officer and said: “I would like to say that I’m very grateful for the state of the police departments and their assistance, and especially Pc Sam Philpot, who never left my side.
“The doctors did great things putting me back together, but if it wasn’t for that Pc I would not have got to the hospital.”
He told the Old Bailey on Tuesday that he first thought he had been barged into by a drunk when he was approached by a terrorist, and pushed him away before seeing a knife.
“As I pushed him back, I’m looking at him. He started looking back towards me. He had an angry look,” he said.
“When he took a step towards me, I took a step back. That’s when I felt something at my left waist and that’s when I blacked out.”
Mr Piersant, who had been visiting his daughter and her husband in the capital from Colorado Springs, said three off-duty doctors who had been eating dinner at a nearby restaurant and police officers came to his aid.
“I heard two bursts of gunshots and as the gunshots went off, the Pc jumped on me,” he said.
The inquest heard Mr Piersant was eventually taken to hospital in an ambulance, but he did not have a pulse.
“I remember that very vividly, just like you hear on TV. I didn’t have a pulse, I didn’t have breaths. I recall flatlining twice,” he said.
In a witness statement, Mr Piersant said: “I have no evil thoughts or bad feelings. The people who did this are crazy and I don’t know anything about their background.”
He told the inquest: “I’m upset at the state of the politics, but stupid people do stupid things and you have just got to take it in your stride.”
In a statement read in court, Mrs Piersant, who was also stabbed, said: “I knew he wanted to kill me. I can’t explain why, it was in his eyes.”
She said she thought her husband “might be dead” when she saw him in a large pool of blood.
“The words ‘stabbed by a terrorist’ are just not in my vocabulary,” she said. “I’m not going to give the attackers any air space. They are non-entities to me.”