A friend of Brisbane woman Sara Zelenak held onto hope her she was just “hiding somewhere” after she failed to answer her phone amid the London Bridge terror attack carnage, an inquest has heard.
Ms Zelenak, 21, died from a stab wound to the neck during the frenzied London Bridge terror attack carried out by Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, on June 3, 2017.
On Monday, an inquest into the killings entered its second week at London’s Central Criminal Court, including witnesses who saw Ms Zelenak’s death.
The three terrorists drove a van erratically on around the capital’s trendy inner south east, killing two, before crashing and then stabbing pedestrians with ceramic knives tied to their wrists.
They were shot by police after they had murdered eight people and injured 48 more around Borough Market. South Australian-born nurse Kirsty Boden, 28, was also killed.
Giving evidence at the Old Bailey, Priscilla Gonzalez told how she thought her friend was trying to hide when she wasn’t answering her phone minutes before she was brutally stabbed to death by terrorists.
She told the court she and Ms Zelenak “just wanted to continue our night and have fun” after leaving the London Grind bar adjacent the Bridge just before 10pm.
Instead the pair was split up after they went to investigate the sound of the terrorists’ van crashing.
Ms Gonzalez said she heard people yelling, “run” and quickly lost Ms Zelenak in the chaos.
“I thought she was with me, but when I looked again she was not,” she said.
“I thought maybe she had lost her phone so I continued to send messages on Facebook as well and called her, but she never picked up,” she said.
“I was hoping maybe she was hiding somewhere.”
Ms Zelenak was working as an au pair when she died and had only been living in London for a few months.
She was identified by her dental records.
Erick Siguenza, who witnessed Ms Zelenak’s murder, said she appeared to have slipped while wearing high heels in wet weather as the terrorists advanced.
He told the court Ms Zelenak was “completely on the ground” when she was stabbed by the attackers who “knew what they were doing”.
Both Ms Zelenak and Ms Boden died after running toward the scene when the terrorists’ van crashed.
Ms Boden, a nurse, had gone to help victims and her bravery has been universally praised and honoured.
Metropolitan Police Service officer Police Constable Clint Wallis, who was one of the first to arrive on scene, told the inquest how he found Ms Zelenak on the ground with a “deep laceration” to the left side of her neck.
She was clutching her phone to her chest, the same phone Ms Gonzalez had been desperately trying to reach her on.
He said he was unable to find a pulse and began CPR, eventually with a help of a fellow officer.
After 10 minutes, they made the decision to stop administering first aid and explained the situation to a paramedic who had recently arrived on scene.
“The paramedic said there were limited resources and ‘marked her as dead’,” Police Constable Wallis told the court.
The 10 week hearing is examining the victims’ deaths, intelligence failures and other security mistakes.
The inquest continues.