Woolwich Beheading: Help For Heroes Soldier 'Hacked And Chopped' With
Machete In Street Attack (GRAPHIC PICTURES)
The Huffington Post UK/PA | By Stephen Hull Posted: 22/05/2013 15:51 BST
| Updated: 22/05/2013 19:08 BST
Two people have been shot in Woolwich, south east London, after armed police
were called to an incident in which a man wearing a Help for Heroes t-shirt
was attacked with a machete-style knife and dumped in the street,
One man was confirmed dead at the scene and two other men were taken to
hospital, one of them in a serious condition, a London Ambulance Service
Pictures published on Twitter show what appears to be three bodies lying in
the street just yards from the Royal Artillery Barracks. Unconfirmed reports
suggest the victim may have been a serving soldier.
MORE: 'Women Tried To Shield Victim From More Machete Blows'
According to senior Whitehall sources quoted by the BBC's political editor,
Nick Robinson, the attackers tried to film the attack whilst chanting
"Allahu Akbar" - God is Great.
Two of the bodies are close together and are being attended to by what looks
like uniformed officers while the third lies in the middle of the road and
is surrounded by members of the public and construction workers.
One witness, identified as James, said he and his partner saw two black men
attack the young victim with knives, including a meat cleaver. "They were
hacking at this poor guy, literally," he told LBC. "They were hacking at
him, chopping him, cutting him."
A body lies in the street after the incident in Woolwich
Fighting back tears, he added: "These two guys were crazed. They were just
animals. They dragged him from the pavement and dumped his body in the
middle of the road and left his body there."
He said that after the "horrendous" attack, the two men, in their 20s, just
stood around, waving knives and a gun, even asking people nearby to take
pictures of them "as if they wanted to be on TV or something".
"They were oblivious to anything, they were more worried about having their
photo taken, running up and down the road," he said.
"They had no intention of running off or leaving or anything. In my opinion,
they were waiting for the police to arrive to be shot by the police. That's
the only thing I can think. It's horrendous what they were doing to that
According to eyewitnesses "brave" women tried to shield the man on the
ground from the attackers.
James added it was 20 minutes before armed police arrived at the scene.
"When the armed police came flying around the corner, the man with the
beanie hat, the tall guy, he charged at the police vehicle," he said.
"A shot was fired by the other guy with the gun. Six shots were fired, both
men went down and we now know they are dead as well."
Other images show a red air ambulance landing in the street. Local newspaper
The News Shopper is blogging about the incident and has reported
eyewitnesses describing shots also being fired.
woolwich machete attack
Police at the scene of the machete attack on Wednesday
An aerial shot of the scene taken from Sky News
It quotes one eyewitness as saying: "I heard they were trying to behead
someone and were shot by police."
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Officers have responded to an
incident in John Wilson Street, Woolwich, SE18, at 14.20 today. We believe
at this stage that officers were called to reports of an assault."
Headteacher of Mulgrave Primary School, David Dixon, told the BBC he put his
school into "lockdown" after he saw a body lying in the road. "We shut all
the gates and made sure all the children were inside," he said.
Mr Dixon also confirmed hearing gunshots but said everyone acted "remarkably
calmly" to make sure all pupils were safe.
john wilson street woolwich
John Wilson Street in Woolwich
London Air Ambulance confirmed that one patient was airlifted from the
scene, while another was taken away by road ambulance. The service would not
confirm the nature of their injuries or where they were being taken.
Social media broke the story and while reports were mixed some tweeters
managed to tell the story in their own style.
One user @BOYADEE tweeted:
Woolwich and Greenwich MP Nick Raynsford said it was his understanding that
one person, a serving soldier, was dead and the two alleged suspects were in
a serious condition in hospital.
He said he had spoken to both borough commander Richard Wood and Lieutenant
Colonel Bob Christopher at Woolwich Barracks.
Mr Raynsford said: "The circumstances causing the incident are not yet
clear. It's been suggested it was the product of a road traffic accident,
but that's pure speculation.
"We think a serving soldier was the victim. We do know a number of weapons
have been seized. They include a gun, various knives, and a machete,
The barracks hosted the shooting events for the Olympic Games last year.
They are currently home to the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, their
horses, historic gun carriages and artillery pieces used for their displays.
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