London Bridge and Borough Market terrorists had taken steroids, court told

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The terrorists who killed eight people in the London Bridge and Borough Market attack were pumped up on steroids, a pre-inquest hearing was told.

Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, had all taken a substance called DHEA shortly before the attack on June 3 last year, the Old Bailey heard.

A toxicologist will be called to give evidence at their inquest next year after it was found levels in their systems were above the acceptable physiological range.

Eight people were killed when the three men ploughed into pedestrians in a white van on the bridge then stabbed evening revellers in the nearby market with 12-inch ceramic knives.

The victims were: Canadian Christine Archibald, 30, Frenchmen Xavier Thomas, 45, and Alexandre Pigeard, 26, as well as Sara Zelenak, 21, Kirsty Boden, 28, Sebastien Belanger, 36, James McMullan, 32, and Ignacio Echeverria, 39.

The attackers were shot and killed by police at the scene.

Top row left to right, Canadian Christine Archibald, James McMullan, Alexandre Pigeard, French chef Sebastien Belanger, bottom row left to right, Australian nurse Kirsty Boden, Australian Sara Zelenak, Xavier Thomas and Spanish banker Ignacio Echeverria (Metropolitan Police/PA)
Top row left to right, Christine Archibald, James McMullan, Alexandre Pigeard, Sebastien Belanger, bottom row left to right, Kirsty Boden, Sara Zelenak, Xavier Thomas and Ignacio Echeverria (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Chief Coroner Mark Lucraft QC said he hoped the inquests would provide grieving families with answers and give “comfort in such difficult circumstances”.

Jonathan Hough QC, counsel to the coroner, said the inquests were of great public importance and would be “full, rigorous and fair”.

Some 1,800 witness statements have already been taken for the inquests.

Among those to be represented are the security services, police, fire authority and ambulance service as well as the families of both victims and attackers.

The inquests would examine what MI5 knew about Butt before the attack, the court heard.

The coroner ordered the inquests into the three knifemen be heard separately to their victims during the pre-inquest hearing attended by family members.

From left, Khuram Shazad Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba (Metropolitan Police/PA)
From left, Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba (Metropolitan Police/PA)

He said he would first hear the inquests into the deaths of the victims at the Old Bailey in early 2019 followed by a jury inquest into the deaths of the attackers.

Lawyer Victoria Ailes, representing five of the victims’ families, said they were particularly concerned to find out about any CCTV footage or mobile phone film showing the attacks on their loved-ones.

Mr Lucraft ordered that any applications for anonymity in the inquests, including from two families of the attackers, be made in advance.

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