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A man ran towards the London Bridge attackers and tried to beat them with his skateboard before he was fatally stabbed, an inquest has heard.

Spaniard Ignacio Echeverría, 39, was one of eight people killed by Rachid Redouane, Youssef Zagbha and Khuram Butt on 3 June 2017.

Guillermo Sanchez-Montisi said his friend ran at the attackers when he saw one of them stab a woman.

His killers looked “prepared” and “professional”, the Old Bailey heard.

Mr Echeverría, Mr Sanchez-Montisi and another friend were cycling along Borough High Street after a day’s skateboarding on the South Bank when they saw an injured man running away from London Bridge.

The court was shown CCTV footage of Mr Echeverría getting off his bike and running to join PC Wayne Marques and off-duty PC Charles Guenigault who were trying to intervene as the attackers stabbed Marie Bondeville and Oliver Dowling.

Mr Echeverría, who worked for HSBC as part of a team fighting money laundering, could then be seen swinging his skateboard at Rachid Redouane.

Redouane made a stabbing motion towards Mr Echeverría, who fell to the ground. The footage then showed Zagbha and Redouane attacking him.

Mr Sanchez-Montisi said in a statement read out to court: “From the way they were attacking people it was clear that their intentions were to kill everyone.”

He said there was a woman, now known to be Ms Bondeville, on the floor being stabbed repeatedly.

‘Professional’ assailants

Describing his friends actions, he said: “It was like he didn’t even think about it, but reacted immediately,”

“He grabbed his skateboard… and went towards the group,” he said.

“One of the attackers was covering his head as Ignacio was hitting him with the skateboard. I could hear the sound of the skateboard hitting, then suddenly Ignacio was on the floor,” he added.

Mr Sanchez-Montisi said he watched his friend then attempt to fend off the attackers’ blows with his skateboard before one of them stabbed him.

A courtroom’s hushed silence

BBC reporter Francesca Gillett, at the inquest

The packed courtroom watched footage of Mr Echeverría’s last moments in hushed silence.

CCTV showed Mr Echeverría and his friends cycling into the path of the commotion.

The camera’s view was partially blocked by a bus stopping as the attack unfolded. Traffic had slowed and bus passengers got off and fled the scene. In large letters, an advert on the side of the bus read: “Stop! In the name of love”.

Earlier that day Mr Echeverría – described by his friend as a Catholic who was “all about trying to help people” – had bought a small, toy blackboard for his sister’s children.

He had the gift with him on the night of the attack, along with the skateboard he used to try to stop the attackers.

Footage showed wounded Mr Echeverría falling backwards onto the pavement and then waving the skateboard with outstretched arms to defend himself.

Later, the manager of nearby tapas restaurant Lobos told how he suddenly found himself in charge of the safety of his customers and staff. He locked the doors and kept people away from the windows.

CCTV from the restaurant showed terrified waitresses holding their hands to their mouths in disbelief and pointing in horror as the attack unfolded outside.

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Mr Echeverría’s parents accepted their late son’s George Medal from the Queen in October last year

Mr Echeverría was posthumously awarded the George Medal for his actions.

His father, Joaquín Echeverría, said the family has not attended the inquest as “a gesture to show we have complete faith in the justice system in England”.

Continuing his evidence, Mr Sanchez-Montisi said the knifemen looked “prepared, professional”.

He said he had to run away because he felt he might become their next target after one attacker “looked straight at me”.

“When he was looking at me, his face, he looked like the devil,” he added. “It was very painful to leave my friend but we were going to be next.”

“I would not wish the feeling impotence, of not being able to do anything, on anyone, even my worst enemy”, he said.

Evidence has been heard in relation to the seven other victims: Xavier Thomas, Chrissy Archibald, Sara Zelenak, James McMullan, Sébastien Bélanger, Alexandre Pigeard and Kirsty Boden.

The inquest continues.

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