Inquest will investigate how Barking terrorist planned London Bridge attack despite being under MI5 surveillance

Butt met with other terrorists at the Ummah Fitness Centre. Police cordoned off the gym after the te

Butt met with other terrorists at the Ummah Fitness Centre. Police cordoned off the gym after the terrorist attack. Photo: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

London Bridge terrorist Khuram Butt of Barking, was able to plan the attack despite being under MI5 surveillance, a pre-inquest has heard.

Khuram Shazad Butt. Picture: Met Police

Khuram Shazad Butt. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

Eight people were killed and many more injured when Youssef Zaghba, 22, of Ilford; Khuram Butt, 27, of Barking; and Rachid Redouane, 33, also of Barking, drove a van into pedestrians and stabbed others in Borough Market in June 2017.

Police then shot and killed the men in the space of eight minutes.

At an Old Bailey pre-inquest hearing today (Friday, January 11) Jonathan Hough QC, counsel to the inquests, said the coroner would be considering what authorities knew about the terrorists before the attack.

Large dossiers on each have been compiled and police have taken 2,700 witness statements and viewed extensive CCTV footage leading up to the incident and during it.

Footage likely to be contained in the four-hour CCTV montage is of Butt, Zaghba and Redouane meeting outside Ummah Fitness Centre, in Ilford Lane, shortly after midnight on May 29, 2017.

The hearing also heard from a lawyer representing the victims of the attack.

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Bereaved families wanted to know why it was possible for the London Bridge terrorists to hire a van in Harold Hill.

A lawyer speaking on behalf of victims’ families told the court that answers were needed as to why rental companies did not introduce security checks following the use of hire vehicles in a series of terrorist attacks across Europe.

“(There was an) apparent failure to have any sort of regulation or security checks by rental businesses where they are renting out powerful vehicles which can be used as lethal weapons,” Gareth Patterson QC said.

“We have had them used in terrorist attack after terrorist attack.”

The lawyer pointed out that vehicles were also used to cause carnage in Nice and Berlin.

The bereaved families also wanted to know why barriers were not erected on bridges after an attack outside the Houses of Parliament in March 2017.

Mr Patterson added: “Protective security is of real significance.

“The issues that emerged in Westminster appear to have resulted in nothing by way of additional regulations.

“The pavements of London Bridge were wide open, despite what happened at Westminster.”

Judge Mark Lucraft QC, chief coroner of England and Wales, said an inquest for the London Bridge victims would start on May 7, followed by an inquest for the terrorists.

He expected the process to last two months.

The inquests will be broadcast via video link to victims’ relatives who live outside the UK, and transcripts of hearings will be published on a public website.

Judge Lucraft also refused an anonymity application by a relative of Butt, but said that if the man is called as a witness he may request special measures to protect aspects of his identity.