A mother of two has described how she put her life on the line by trying to persuade terrorists to hand over their weapons.
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Mother confronts Woolwich killers
A UK woman bravely attempts to calm two men who hacked to death a suspected British soldier in London street and prompted police clashes with the far-right. Warning: images may distress some viewers.
Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, a cub scout leader, talked with the killers and kept her nerve as one of them told her: "We want to start a war in London tonight."
Mrs Loyau-Kennett, 48, from Cornwall, was one of the first people on the scene after the two Islamists butchered a soldier in Woolwich, south-east London, on Wednesday. She was photographed by onlookers confronting one of the attackers, who was holding a bloodied knife.
Mrs Loyau-Kennett was a passenger on a number 53 bus that was travelling past the scene. She jumped off to check the soldier's pulse.
"Being a cub leader I have my first aid," she said. "So when I saw this guy on the floor I thought it was an accident. Then I saw the guy was dead and I could not feel any pulse.
"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.' So I thought: 'OK, I don't know what is going on here.' 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 [the victim] 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.' "
When Mrs Loyau-Kennett arrived on the scene the pair of killers were roaming John Wilson Street waiting for police to arrive so they could stage a final confrontation with them.
She said: "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.
I said: 'Right, now it is only you versus many people, you are going to lose, what would you like to do?' He said: 'I would like to stay and fight.'
"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 do 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?' He said: 'I would like to stay and fight.' "
The terrorist in the black hat then went to speak to someone else and Mrs Loyau-Kennett tried to engage with the other man in the light coat. She said: "The other one was much shyer and I went to him and I said: 'Well, what about you? Would you like to give me what you have in your hands?'
"I did not want to say weapons but I thought it was better having them aimed on one person like me rather than everybody there. Children were starting to leave school as well."
Mrs Loyau-Kennett was not the only woman to show extraordinary courage in the Woolwich street.
Others shielded the soldier's body as the killers stood over them.
Joe Tallant, 20, a van loader who lives near the scene, said a friend and her mother went over to help the soldier as he lay dying in the street.
"Her mother was so brave, she didn't care what happened to her," he said. "She knelt by his side and comforted him. She held his hand and put her other hand on his chest. I think she might have been praying." MPs last night praised the "extraordinary bravery" of the women and raised concerns about why it took armed police 20 minutes to arrive at the scene while people's lives were at risk.
According to a security source the delay in the armed police response was "particularly surprising" because there is a heavily armed police presence at Woolwich Crown Court, which is just four kilometres away.
Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the Home Affairs select committee, said: "We are all grateful for the local people who responded so quickly.
"It shows the spirit of London ... that people are just not prepared to allow an attack of this kind. I pay tribute to what they have done."
Patrick Mercer MP, a former Army officer and former shadow counter terrorism minister, paid tribute to the people who shielded the body of the soldier.
He said: "This is courage of the highest order. 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."
Robert Buckland, a Conservative member of the justice select committee, said: "If it is the case [that police took 20 minutes to arrive] it is very worrying. If there was any unwarranted delay then that needs to be investigated."
The Daily Telegraph, London