Published On: Mon, Dec 30th, 2019

London Bridge Inquests; Part Six: hiding the two-team matter of fact with Alexandre Pigeard (Sub-part A)

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In Part Two of this series, it was deduced from the transcript of the inquests into the London Bridge attack of 2017 that there was a covert team of attackers (at least one person) that started to assault people in the vicinity of the Boro Bistro restaurant before another team – the overt unit consisting of three men that would take the blame for the attack – had made its way onto the sub-street level where the eatery was situated.

The principle victim of the “infiltration unit” was Alexandre Pigeard. In the official version of events as presented by the inquest, Pigeard ventured all the way from inside the Boro Bistro, which is where he was when the incident commenced, to the foot of the steps that brings people down from street level into the cellar strata Green Dragon Court. It was here that he was stabbed in the neck, and from whence he retreated back towards the Boro Bistro. Pigeard was then attacked, and “finished off” where the courtyard develops a corner on the Southwark Cathedral side, and turns into an extension that makes the area L-shaped.

However, the truth of the matter appears to be very different. Pigeard did not go to investigate, but was attacked by a knifeman who was already in the courtyard. This is the impression that one must take from the testimony of Robin Colleau. Moreover, there is verification by other witnesses of the apparent fact that Pigeard was not stabbed until he encountered the infiltration team near the Boro Bistro – that is to say, this is evident if we reject the attempt by the inquest to obfuscate this testimony by leading witnesses through a muddle of their own telling. So, ultimately, not only is there a good deal of evidence that establishes the fact of two teams of knife attackers, but there is plenty of indication that the inquest was entirely corrupt.

To recap very briefly, we already know that Robin Colleau had literally just entered the Green Dragon Court when the attack happened. He moved directly away from the steps that led down into the below-street level area, and came across signs that blood was being spilled as he moved towards the Boro Bistro, indicating that an attack was going on ahead of him. At last he came to Pigeard, already stabbed, on the ground, with a lot of blood around him. He was “near the entrance to the terrace” – meaning that he was on the boundary of the Boro Bistro al fresco dining area. Pigeard was “holding his neck and was covered in blood”. From Colleau’s testimony alone, it appears impossible for Pigeard to have done the things attributed to him by the official narrative.

In spite of this, and despite having no CCTV footage of Pigeard going to the foot of the steps, nor being stabbed there, nor returning, the inquest actively manipulated the evidence to promote this tall story. For instance, one witness, Jack Baxter, told the inquest that he saw “a youngish man running… from my viewpoint from left to right, and he appeared to have a cut to his neck.” [(Day)6/(Column)56/(Lines)21-23].

Understandably, the inquest wanted to establish this running man as Pigeard: in fact, the intent could not be more clearly expressed than in this following excerpt from the exchange between Baxter and his interrogator, Hough, QC:

So when you first saw that man, who we believe to be Alexandre Pigeard, he was going along the pathway towards where we see the corner on the plan?

That’s correct.

At what speed was he moving?

Running.

Was he able to run at full pelt at that stage?

Yes, he was able to run without impediment, I suppose, for lack of a better term.

[6/59/9-17]

However, this man was in all likelihood Paul Saint-Pasteur, who had been stabbed in the neck (not necessarily where the inquest said he was stabbed), but was fit enough to make it back to the Boro Bistro. There are a host of reasons to support this, not least because Pigeard’s neck injury was supposed to be lethal enough to disable him so that his attackers could catch up with him to finish him off: consider how the coroner who performed the post-mortem on Pigeard, Dr Robert Chapman, answered yes to the following question:

Now, the evidence we’ve heard suggests that Alexandre suffered the neck injury , was then able to move down a short passageway, 10 or 15 metres or so, before collapsing , where he was set upon again and further wounds were inflicted . Do you consider that he could have moved that kind of distance after receiving the neck injury?

[19/27&28/21-2]

However, Chapman also told the inquest this:

In my view, this injury would have bled immediately and profusely, both externally and into the right chest space, and again, I would expect collapse to have been rapid as a result of this injury, perhaps within about a minute, and death to have supervened shortly thereafter.

[19/26&27/23-3]

The reader is asked to consider if it is in fact implausible that Pigeard could be charging around like a gazelle when he was about to literally drop down dead. Significantly, Chapman gave the same verge-of-death-yet-athletic abilities to another victim, James McMullan, to explain his coming to rest where he was found.

Returning to the testimony of Jack Baxter, this witness had the tenacity (not always on display by others in the same position) to insist on his version of events. He maintained that this running character was wearing a “light-coloured shirt” after Hough tried to tell him that he had previously “described him as being a white man wearing a white shirt” – in other words, dressed in the same way as Pigeard. [6/58/16-17]

Baxter went on to say that his attention was commanded by a struggle going on at the foot of the steps, which was Sébastien Bélanger proving to be the bottle neck discussed in Part Two of this series – and this brings us back to Paul Saint-Pasteur. Now, it appears that the inquest decided it could make do without the testimony of Saint-Pasteur, which seems incredible, because it might have cast some light on how it was possible that Pigeard could get stabbed at the foot of the steps before Bélanger was uncorked from blocking the progress of those attackers at that point. Arguably, the omission was necessary because interrogating Paul Saint-Pasteur would draw attention to the fact that it was he, and not Pigeard, who Baxter in fact saw. Indeed, Saint-Pasteur may have some narrative-busting information to impart, for there appears to be no evidence that proves that he reached the steps to be stabbed there.

Of course, all this means that the testimony of Dimitri Gabriel, a supposed colleague of Pigeard, is highly suspect – at least in terms of its account of the movements of Pigeard. Gabriel says that when the van crashed into the railings (to signal the start of the attack), he ran back into Boro Bistro, but “when I went back out, he [Pigeard] was just in front of me, going out as well”. [8/5/14-15]. Gabriel then followed Pigeard, always about a single meter behind him, all the way to the foot of the steps that came down into the Green Dragon Court. The following exchange between interrogator and Gabriel is taken from the latter’s testimony to the inquest:

Now, we know that the three attackers came down those steps and we know that at some stage Alex suffered a first injury to his neck. Can you help us, did you see any of the attackers coming down those steps?

If – – to be honest with you, it happened so quick that when I saw — when I heard the scream and everyone in panic coming down, I just turned back. So I can’t guarantee that I actually saw the guy do something to Alex.

[8/19&20/21-4]

This is a very strange thing to say. Either the man saw something done to Pigeard, or he did not. If we get the impression that Gabriel did not see Pigeard become injured, but that he wouldn’t like to disappoint the inquest by denying it outright, we would perhaps be justified. Indeed, giving the matter some further thought, Gabriel cannot even have seen the attackers coming down or emerging from the steps, because he left the vicinity as the people fled ahead of them. Further indication that Gabriel is not to be relied upon comes when he is asked to provide an answer to a question that Pigeard’s family particularly wanted answering (according to the questioning QC) – why would the waiter at Boro Bistro move toward the trouble the way he did that night? It’s a good question, because we do need to understand why on earth Pigeard would leave off from looking to his primary responsibility. Gabriel says: “The last word he said to me is like ‘Let’s go up and see what happened, maybe it’s an accident on the bridge’, that s the last words”. [8/21/22-14]. Asked about when Pigeard said this, Gabriel replied “when he was about to run towards the stairs”, or just before the two of them set off. [8/22/1-2].

Significantly, this information is absent when Gabriel is questioned the first time around (witnesses at the inquest were usually asked questions in succession by two or even three different interrogators). Gabriel gives no indication that there was any communication between him and Pigeard until he is specifically prompted to do so. He forgets to mention it on the first opportunity, indicating that it isn’t “auto-memory”. Moreover, it’s not clear when this communication could have taken place if Gabriel was always behind Pigeard.

So, our position is this: the evidence to suggest that Pigeard went to the foot of the steps into Green Dragon Court ranges from being doubtful, and entirely dubious, to non-existent. On the other hand, the evidence to suggest that he was first attacked on the perimeter of the Boro Bistro al fresco area, where he was found, thus he was attacked by a man who had infiltrated the area ahead of the overt and blameable attackers, is there to be seen if one sets about looking for it. And as compelling as Robin Colleau’s testimony is, there is other that actually describes the attack, and yet more that verifies it as having taken place.

Before exploring this information, we must regard the testimony to the inquest of Robert Chapman, the man who did the autopsy on Pigeard. He reported that there was sharp force injury to the lower right side of the neck going down into the top of the right side of the chest, cutting the first rib. There was a second stab wound around the base of left shoulder (delivered from the front); this wound also passed through the left bicep and into the chest cavity below the second left rib. A third stab wound was to the upper back to the right of the spine, another stab wound was to the left buttock, and another to the left side of the face. There was also a very superficial wound to a thumb. It is the first two injuries described here that were supposedly the ones that would have rendered Pigeard’s life in danger. However, the first wound, claimed Chapman, was liable to kill Pigeard all on its own.

This information is presented by the inquest as showing that there was a first strike, which took place at the foot of the steps, to the neck, after which Pigeard collapsed and presented himself in such a way so that he would accrue the other injuries when he was being attacked for the second time. Our alternative theory, of course, is that Pigeard was attacked first by someone who knew how to kill him with one blow of a knife, and then was set about by a rabble who were supposed to publically represent the perpetration of the crime, and be seen to be punished for it. Moreover, although the “shoulder” wound, which is in fact a blow to the chest partially blocked by an arm, supposedly transpired because Pigeard had posed while on the floor in a “defensive” manner, there is another feasible explanation for its form: that it was struck while Pigeard was experiencing an involuntary reflex (i.e. a collapse) in reaction to being stabbed in the neck from behind in a way that immediately threatened his life. We will see for sure by the end of this article (meaning all its sub-parts), that the two damaging blows were by the initial attacker.

Andzelika Abokaityte was a patron of Boro Bistro, and seated in its al fresco dining area. She appears to have been positioned right up against the wall of the establishment (so, as far from the infamous steps as one could be). She implies in her testimony that only a very short time elapsed, after the crashing of a van into railings at road-level, before she heard screaming from “every direction” – her friend was hit by debris from above, and she was enquiring as to his welfare when this started. “Shortly after” reports Abokaityte, “I was looking around and I could see a man holding our waiter.” [8/35/3-4]. To be absolutely clear, the QC that was interrogating the witness at this point named the victim being referred to as Pigeard – so there can be no doubt, Abokaityte is confirming the fact that could be gleaned from Robin Colleau’s testimony: the attack on Pigeard was virtually immediate upon the “signal” of the van crash.

Abokaityte goes on to explain that Pigeard was 3 metres away from her, and that he was being attacked in the same place where pools of his blood remained later; in other words, where he collapsed after he had supposedly returned from the foot of the steps. So, Abokaityte is also telling us that Pigeard did not travel. It was probably because she was doing this that Patterson, QC, when it was his turn to question Abokaityte, spent a lot of time casting doubt on her ability to see the incident or remember it properly (it was pointed out that it was over a month after the event that she was asked to give a statement), or suggesting that the crime she saw was too brief a moment to appreciate correctly. However, the big scandal of the inquest’s treatment of Abokaityte is the blatant way it did not want to follow the evidence that she could potentially lead it by in order to come to the truth.

First of all, Abokaityte said she saw an assailant “holding the waiter and he was stabbing him from behind a couple of times.”  [8/36/23-24]. To be clear, Abokaityte described how Pigeard was between her and the attacker, and both were facing her. In the light of this, Hough, QC, who was questioning her at the time, wanted the inquest to interpret Abokaityte’s information as telling of the attacker as “holding with one hand and bringing his other arm around the front of the waiter into his body”. [8/37/9-11]. However, she had said “I think it was from behind, I can’t remember exactly, but I think he was stabbing from behind, from the back”. [8/37/12-13]. As such, the inquest was seeking to misrepresent her evidence.

The importance of this issue is that if it is assumed that the assailant held the knife with his right hand (Abokaityte wasn’t sure which hand was used), Pigeard’s neck injury might well be consistent with an attack from the rear being landed downwards, and after which, if the victim crumpled somewhat, a next blow could more easily come over and around the body to pierce the left bicep/chest. Indeed, this makes all the more sense if we consider what was said by the other witness (Helen Kennett) to Pigeard being held and attacked by a lone and seemingly taller assailant. Ultimately, then, Abokaityte probably saw the two significant knife wounds being dealt (and then she very likely saw Kennett being stabbed in neck by the same assailant) – but this would be explosive information if it was interpreted in that way. It would put a wrecking-ball through the tall story of Pigeard being stabbed at the steps into the Green Dragon Court.

If we look at Abokaityte’s testimony as it is recorded in the transcripts, we can see how those who executed the inquest actively tried to fudge the information. For instance, see how frustrating the following exchange is between the witness and questioner:

Could you see what part of the waiter’s body he was making the stabbing movements into?

Around this area (indicates).

Around the stomach and midriff area?

Yes.

[8/37/4-8]

This is unsatisfactory because the witness has allowed the inquest to put words into her mouth – words that are not necessarily true. What we should learn from this exchange, rather than anything about where the witness saw the victim being injured, is that Abokaityte doesn’t know the name of the parts of the body stabbed. This means that her affirmation of parts proposed by the lawyer is meaningless. Moreover, like other people, perhaps intimidated by being in court, and facing questions from confident lawyers, Abokaityte is no doubt prone to agreeing for what they probably feel is the good of the cause.

For instance, prior to the exchange laid out below, she told Hough, QC that she couldn’t recall what the attacker was stabbing with, so at that point the inquest hadn’t previously established that a knife was used, as far as this witness was concerned:

And you saw, I think you described, at least two movements, two stab movements —

Yes.

– – with the knife ; is that right ? You said that you believed you saw a blow to the neck or a slashing movement to the neck?

Yes.

[8/46&47/22-3]

Indeed, things were so critical at this point, in terms of processing Abokaityte without appreciating that she saw things that would bust the narrative, that the Chief Coroner intervened to make it clear that the neck injury that Abokaityte agreed to having seen was one given to another victim. However, as the reader can see, in her rush to please the inquest, she has not only agreed to a knife being used, but also (as far as the record is concerned) knowingly contradicted the previous “stomach and midriff” interpretation – because in the above exchange, she had no reason not to suppose that it was Pigeard being talked about.

While it might be surprising (and the author has been on a number of occasions) that a coroner’s inquest is allowed by its executors to be so thoroughly imprecise, it figures that this is in fact necessary if the exercise is about cover-up rather than exposing the truth. If Abokaityte’s witness comes across as confused, it is therefore not entirely her own fault. That being said, it contains crucial detail that can be corroborated by another witness – and one who is independent of her, thus making both all the more valuable. By these two testimonies, and by a great deal of supporting evidence, it is more than clear that Pigeard did not do what the inquest would have the world believe he did, and as such, because Pigeard has been used as the chief disguise against an alternative narrative (and the actual matter of fact), there can now be no hiding that there were two teams involved in the attack on Boro Bistro.

To be continued in Sub-part B of this article.

 

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