BY TOBY PORTER
A policeman who took on knife-wielding terrorists in the London Bridge terror attack has spoken about the horrific day.
Sunday marked the anniversary of the day when the London Bridge attackers turned on Charlie Guenigault, of Bexley, during their rampage.
A total of eight people died in the attack, 48 were injured and the attackers, Khuram Shazad Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghbam, were shot dead by the police.
The 26-year-old was stabbed five times.
Charlie has been told he would have died if his colleagues had not taken him in an unmarked cop car to the emergency ward – the ambulances were not allowed to approach as the bloodshed continued.
He was alert for 90 minutes, during which a mate from training school, Sergeant Steve Simpson, kept talking to him to keep him conscious. Charlie was then put into an induced coma. When he woke up he had 17 stitches in his head and neck and still more in his back.
His lower stomach had to be opened up so surgeons could staple his back wounds from the front.
He had just left the Duke of York Pub in Borough with colleagues, watching the Champions League game between Juventus and Real Madrid, and was heading for London Bridge railway station, when, seconds into the start of the attack – he later found out – he heard someone shout: “Help – I’ve been stabbed.”
Charlie said: “Someone had got hold of his arm and he fell to the floor.
“I went over expecting to give him first aid and wait for an ambulance to arrive. I saw a fight between six or seven people and fellow police officer Wayne Marques getting beaten up. I knew I had to give him the chance to get away.
“It turned out they were the people with knives. I went in and don’t remember what happened next. There were three people standing in front of me not looking too happy.
“They went for me. I did what I could to protect my body with my arms.
“They got my back then my head, another in the back and the back of my neck. I started to feel a bit tired – that I might need to get on the ground. I fell to the floor and was looking up. But I was worried they would finish me off in the chest. So I pretended to die – I looked to the left in the hope they would think they had done enough.
“After a few seconds, nothing else happened so I rolled onto my chest to allow someone to stop the bleeding from my back. I asked one member of the public to put his knee on my back.
“I asked another to keep me calm, talk to me and keep me awake. Then other policemen put me in an unmarked car and rushed me to hospital. If we had waited for an ambulance I would not have made it.
“I don’t remember feeling much pain. I felt the knife going into my back and head. But there was so much adrenaline – I was just focused on staying alive. I am not sure how much blood I lost – but I remember feeling it coming out of my head and pouring down my face and seeping through my clothes.
“I was fortunate Steve was at the hospital.
“It was touch and go for a time. I didn’t think I was going to die but it was an anxious wait for my family. I can’t remember much about waking up. It wasn’t until a day later that I was more alert. There were some sad faces then.”
Charlie has to take penicillin twice daily since his spleen was removed in the first operation. “The return of the Premier League season helped get me up and about,” he said. “I am a Chelsea fan.”
Last October, the Met’s deputy commissioner, Craig Mackey, said at the Pride of Britain Awards: “For PC Charlie Guenigault there was no such thing as off duty. That summer night in Borough Market, Charlie ran towards the terrorists, putting himself in danger to protect the public. Without thought for himself, his bravery undoubtedly helped others.”
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.