Woman being praised for distracting London attackers

Ingrid Loyau-Kennett confronts one of the suspected killers (photo via Twitter)
Ingrid Loyau-Kennett confronts one of the suspected killers (photo via Twitter)

The horrific attack that left a U.K. soldier dead on the streets of London could have been worse, were it not for the actions of a 48-year-old single mom, the U.K.'s Telegraph reports.

Ingrid Loyau-Kennett spoke with the Telegraph about speaking directly with the suspected killers in the attack's immediate aftermath. In a photograph, Loyau-Kennett can be seen speaking with one of the attackers while a crowd of onlookers watches from a safe distance.

Via the Telegraph:

"And then when I went up there was this black guy with a revolver and a kitchen knife, he had what looked like butcher’s tools and he had a little axe, to cut the bones, and two large knives and he said 'move off the body," she said.

"So I thought 'OK, I don’t know what is going on here’ and he was covered with blood. I thought I had better start talking to him before he starts attacking somebody else. I thought these people usually have a message so I said 'what do you want?'"

I asked him if he did it and he said yes and I said why? And he said because he has killed Muslim people in Muslim countries, he said he was a British soldier and I said really and he said 'I killed him because he killed Muslims and I am fed up with people killing Muslims in Afghanistan they have nothing to do there.”

Loyau-Kennett then described what she judged to be the mental state of one of the attackers.

Via the Telegraph:

"I started to talk to him and I started to notice more weapons and the guy behind him with more weapons as well. By then, people had started to gather around. So I thought OK, I should keep him talking to me before he noticed everything around him.

“He was not high, he was not on drugs, he was not an alcoholic or drunk, he was just distressed, upset. He was in full control of his decisions and ready to everything he wanted to do.

I said 'right now it is only you versus many people, you are going to lose, what would you like to do?’ and he said I would like to stay and fight.”

By engaging with the suspects, Loyau-Kennett helped distract them, which allowed police to move in, the Telegraph reports.

A man identifying himself as Loyau-Kennett's son took to Twitter to boast about his mother's bravery. Basil Baradaran wrote, "My mum is a [expletive] badass" and posted the photo of her confronting one of the alleged killers. He later wrote, "Holy [expletive] I have reporters calling up now asking for the story. So much for an evening watching the new Jackie Chan movie I bought."

The two alleged suspects were shot by police and are in serious condition in a nearby hospital.

Former shadow counter-terrorism minister Patrick Mercer spoke about Loyau-Kennett's bravery as well as other bystanders who helped to shield the slain soldier's body from further attacks.

"This is courage of the highest order," Mercer said. "It sounds as if these members of the public are not soldiers, not policemen, not people whose duties demand this, they are extremely courageous people and that courage deserves to be recognised at the highest level."

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