Published On: Tue, Jan 7th, 2020

London Bridge Inquests; Part Seven: the skilful misrepresentation of the case of Kirsty Boden

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The reader may (or may not) be surprised to discover that there was only one piece of footage of the March, 2017, Boro Bistro terrorist attack that shows anyone being harmed by the assailants – and even then, it is entirely dubious. The footage in question was recorded on a mobile phone by Erick Siguenza, a witness whose testimony to the inquest into the event has had serious doubt cast upon it in more than one previous article in this series.

On day seven of the inquests, Siguenza’s work was presented and discussed between a police representative and one of a number of Queen’s Councils whose task it had hitherto been, and would continue to be, to carefully shield the official record from any inconvenient truth. In that light, the purpose of the exercise would be to interpret the images in a manner that would be advantageous to the official narrative, with the public never having access to examine them to dispute their supposed content. Of course, the final reason that there should be no confidence in the veracity of how the inquest speaks the images into the written records is how Siguenza’s footage had to be “clarified” in order “to enable the viewer to actually see what is happening because [the] original… is so dark”. [7/202/10-11].

Siguenza’s footage supposedly shows the three attackers of the official narrative, Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba running on the path alongside the wall that separates the Green Dragon Court (the sub-street level precinct in which the Boro Bistro restaurant is housed) from the Southwark Cathedral grounds. Apparently, the men came across Kirsty Boden and attacked her very much as they were passing her, so that the assault only endured for a matter of seconds. The inquest talks about a “blurred figure believed to be Kirsty Boden” who is “seen bending down” [7/203/1-2]. Apparently, the footage showed the “attackers lunging in that area and stabbing Kirsty” [7/203/7-8], and if Butt moves on, then “Redouane abd Zaghba remain and continue with the attack” [7/203/10-11]. The police officer, DC Alisdair Hutchison, agrees with this, the assessment of the QC, Hough, and says “Yes sir, and it’s my opinion that you can see Kirsty Boden move slightly off towards the top of the screen… whilst they still continue the attack in a crouched position, which again suggests that it is in fact Alexandre [Pigeard] that they’re attacking at that moment.” [7/203/12-17].

To explain what Hutchison is talking about, the official narrative has Kirsty Boden bending down to tend to Pigeard, who has just run (despite his failing internal organs) from the spot where he was attacked on the steps leading down into Green Dragon Court (a fairytale that was thoroughly undermined in Part Six of this series), and she was caught doing this by the attackers. But even at first glance the official narrative regarding Boden promises to be problematic: she moves away while Redouane and Zaghba are attacking her, thus revealing that she isn’t after all being attacked. We might suppose that these two stopped attacking her at the same time as Butt did – thus making the assault on her most fleeting indeed. The problem will become glaring later on in this piece when it is told of how Boden had one attacker, much earlier on, who took more pains to kill her than the three stooges did.

Before we deal with Boden, however, the denigration of Siguenza as any kind of reliable witness needs to be brought to a full conclusion. We should note that that which he claims he witnessed himself bears no resemblance to what he supposedly filmed, and there is little to reconcile the two. Siguenza was located up on the road, looking over the railings down into Green Dragon Court:

I could see in between the gap in between the two umbrellas from the one close to the cathedral and the other one closest to the railing, it was quite lit, so you can see clearly what was going on. So I could see two or three of them, they were trying to attack the people that were there, and once people had realised what was going on, I think people further closest to the entrance to the bar started throwing things at them, whatever they had, glasses , chairs I think were thrown as well.

[5/32/14-23]

The reader should note that Siguenza is the only witness who claims to have seen Boro Bistro patrons “fighting back”. When he was asked how the three attackers moved into the courtyard, he said that he had seen them enter through the stone arch (beyond which the steps descend to the basement level) that acts as an entrance into the Boro Bistro section of Green Dragon Court. He then saw them run on the path by the Cathedral grounds wall. They were beaten off at the boundary of Boro Bistro, after which…

They started running away. Two of them ran away first but one was lagging behind, and as he was lagging behind, there was a person closest to the stone arch [the way out of the courtyard] where there were some tables, there was a woman, and she was stabbed several times until she fell on the ground.

[5/33/10-15]

Siguenza went on to state that “she had a few blows to her chest, and she was falling down, the terrorists kept attacking her” [5/ 43/18-19]. Her ordeal ended when “two gentlemen” grabbed her and tried to drag her away.

Now, the interesting exchange is this (the other party to it being Siguenza’s Queen’s Counsel examiner):

Yes, so that woman you have told us about down in the courtyard, is that the only actual impact or attack that you saw at that stage down below?

Yes.

We know that there were many.

Yes.

That was the only one that you saw, was it?

Yes, that’s correct.

[5/43&44/25-7]

So, please note that even though Siguenza purportedly filmed the incident, he himself gives no details of the attack on Kirsty Boden – because the one he saw, according to the official narrative, was in the wrong place to be the one on her. Indeed, neither of the two QCs who interrogated Siguenza attempted to identify the woman as Boden. Moreover, this attack was the only one he saw; if the reader thinks he claimed to see three attackers generally stab and wound people before being fought off, then look again: he said that “they were trying to attack the people that were there” [5/32/18-19]. He never saw an attack on Kirsty Boden, even though he said he could “see clearly what was going on”. He never saw the attack, although he was supposed to have filmed it. The author suggests that he did not film the footage that was presented in court.

With the value of Siguenza’s footage diminished – which, as the reader will see, is important for establishing a foundation upon which to build – we move to the core topic of this article: how the manner in which Kirsty Boden was killed appears to have been completely misrepresented at the inquest. There is, however, going to be a circuitous approach to this, with the first lap of an inwards-travelling spiral involving looking at the very important evidence of eyewitness Jack Baxter which provides an exemplar for our understanding of how the attackers actually conducted themselves. He notes that the three attackers, who the inquest would say were Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba, provided tight-knit support to each other firstly in despatching Sébastien Bélanger –  who, as written of hereabouts before, effectively caused a bottleneck obstacle that had to be removed before the attackers could progress further into Green Dragon Court –  and then when moving to deal with two women who became exposed to their malevolent intentions. There follows a number of excerpts from his testimony:

My attention was then drawn to the left towards the archway, sort of the corner of the archway I saw a man being surrounded by three other males. Again, I still hadn’t taken full understanding of what was happening. I could see them cornering him until a point where I saw one of them step forward and stab that man…

[6/59/19-24]

 I noticed that there were still quite a few people in there but they started to disperse and somehow there were two women that were left sort of in that area, and they made their way into that together as a three, in a similar approach to how they coralled the first man…

[6/63/18-23]

The thing that stuck out to me was that they sort of held their formation as a sort of umbrella cover, and that paired with the obstacles laid around meant that the women within that area were sort of trapped.

[6/64/1-4]

They again coralled the women to the point where the women couldn’t really retreat any further , and once that had happened, one of them had stepped forward and made a striking motion with his knife to the lady on the left.

[6/64/7-11]

The impression one gets of these attackers is that they were moving steadily and in a manner whereby they wouldn’t risk the cover that they were providing each other. There is definitely no suggestion of these people running willy-nilly into whatever might confront them. Moreover, Baxter talks of a woman “on the left”, and one “on the right” being attacked in the same space, with the former being attacked methodically by two men (once each, with each taking it in turns), and then falling over after being struck, and the latter being struck by one man. Crucially, Baxter seems to indicate that this happened before the men reached the area where the two main Boro Bistro umbrellas were situated (i.e. the al fresco dining area). Overall, it means that neither woman could have been Boden. In fact, the inquest doesn’t name her as one of these women; they were very likely to have been Marie Drago and Marine Vincent, two women who were stabbed but did not die of their injuries.

Baxter did not see the three men retreat from Green Dragon Court because he departed when he saw the two women being attacked, so it could be argued that he didn’t talk about the attack on Boden because he didn’t stick around to see it. However, because he clearly describes variance between the way he saw the attackers conduct themselves, and how they were supposedly captured on mobile phone, it appears that whatever he saw did not culminate with an attack on Kirsty Boden as the official narrative would insist on it. In fact, the more one sifts through the witness testimony, the more it becomes evident that any “running men” in Green Dragon Court were of a different party than that of the three official attackers. It is these “running men”, partially covered in Part Two of this series, who may have been accomplices of a lone knifeman, about which many witnesses have testified.

In fact, they were seen in proximity to each other by Helen Kennett who, although she could not give a description of them, nevertheless saw other antagonists at the same time that she saw the aftermath of the lone knife’s attack on Pigeard:

In my peripheral vision I could see the other two guys had jumped over the bushes, over this little boundary to the bar, and they were attacking people.

[8/63/9-11]

This evidence of three men suddenly in Green Dragon Court immediately after the van crash appears to be corroborated by Mauro Galluzzo who reports seeing two running men (chasing a third) appear as if instantaneously. Again, what the running men did is the subject matter of Part Two and perhaps Part Three of this series; at this juncture we want to revisit the “man who dropped in from above”, or the lone knifeman. This is what Galluzzo had to say:

So I think while we were watching and seeing what was happening there [with the “running men”], it was a number of split seconds, a man appeared not in front of me but in the middle of the courtyard, and I – – I’m not sure where he came from or how he arrived, but he – – I could see that he was holding a knife.

[8/85&86/25-5]

Galluzzo went on to describe the man wearing a grey T-shirt, and being tall – in his late 30s or 40s. He is not describing Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane or Youssef Zaghba.

Andrius Vorobjovas was another witness who could corroborate the almost instantaneous presence of an attacker in the Green Dragon Court. He said a few seconds passed between the moment the van crashed and when he rose to investigate what the loud bang of the impact could mean. He went on:

Again, a few seconds later, or maybe five seconds or so, we had a – – lots of screaming. I then turned around to my right, facing the staircase, and I saw the man with a blade – –

[7/121/14-17]

The interrogating QC tried to establish that what Vorobjovas was suddenly faced with had emanated from the steps leading down from the road. He did this by trying to elicit from Vorobjovas that the screaming came from the direction of the stone steps. While Vorobjovas agreed that this was true (in relation to his own position), he would however insist that “I think it was even closer towards us, to be honest. But, yes, that’s the direction” [7/122/3-4]. Moreover, he would tell a second examiner that by the time he first saw this lone knifeman, “He was already inside… the table area” [7/133/4-7].

So, in summary, within a matter of seconds of the van crash, Vorobjovas saw a man with a knife in the Boro Bistro al fresco dining area. The very short interval of time between the crash and the screaming in Green Dragon Court – which must have been reaction to the commencement of the killing – is a common experience for all the witnesses. In a statement that was read out at the inquest, Harriet Mooney, who was socialising with Kirsty Boden, said that, after her friend had left the table to seek what she could do for the injured of what she supposed to be an accidental car crash,…

I lost sight of her at the entrance to the restaurant. It felt like she had only been gone for a few seconds when I heard screaming.

[9/35&36/24-2]

For a better understanding of what this could mean, consider how the inquest presented footage that started at a time of 22.07.10, and which showed people reacting to the crash at 22.07.17. In this footage, Kirsty Boden is seen, “a few seconds later… leaving the table [at which she is seated] and moving towards the main courtyard area” [9/624-25]. Thus, if Mooney is correct in her intuition, the screaming could have started before the second hand of the clock had described half a minute past seven minutes past ten. And, as was suggested above, the screaming was most likely caused by the commencement of the killing at Boro Bistro.

Again, the commencement of the screaming, denoting the commencement of the killing, is apparent in eyewitness Tomasso Clemente’s account:

Well, after a while, a few seconds, 20 seconds, I heard the screaming, and I turned my back and I’ve seen this guy, he was in the courtyard, and he was stabbing this girl on the belly while she was lying on the floor, and I noticed one guy lying on the ground.

[8/127/4-8]

The woman is meant to be Boden, and the “guy” being referred to is meant to be Pigeard; Clemente recognised him as a waiter. Therefore, he appears to have placed the attack on Boden as having taken place in the vicinity of where Pigeard had been injured. This would certainly agree with the official version. However, from his testimony, even if we learn that Pigeard was in his scope of vision when Clemente saw Boden being attacked, it’s hard to gauge the distance between the two victims. The least that can be learnt from the following exchange between Clemente and his interrogator is that the attacker had indeed infiltrated the dining area (and something to bear in mind when reading this is that, as best as we can tell without having looked at the images, the blood that is mentioned in the extract as being on the path is that which Pigeard would have bled out):

Can we look at a photograph on screen, {DC7283/100}. We can now see a view from the restaurant interior the other side of the courtyard from you looking down the path that goes by the cathedral wall.

Right.

You were saying that you saw a woman first of all?

Excuse me?

You were saying you saw a woman?

Yes.

Where was she?

Well, this image, to be honest, is a bit confusing, because here it’s showing some blood on the path.

Please, ignore the blood, it wasn’t there at the time you saw this.

Okay. It just – – what I’ve seen, it was not there, it was on the left side of this picture where the table are under this big umbrella. What I’ve seen was there.

[8/127&128/11-2]

Not only does Clemente perhaps challenge the location of where Boden was attacked, but he corroborates Vorobjovas in terms of the manner in which she was assailed; i.e. being on the floor. She was not standing and bent over, as the Siguenza film is supposed to show. She was prostrate, but with her front exposed to being stabbed (it needs to be stated that Clemente viewed Boden looking down the line of her body from feet to head, so with her knees bent, and his being unable to see past them, he presumably couldn’t actually tell where the wounds were being made):

I’ve seen this guy, he was bent on her. He was — her knee was bent and he was stabbing this girl. At the beginning what I thought, he was trying to help her to stand up, but then I’ve seen him pull a knife from her belly and stab her again.

[8/129/5-9]

There are other important things to be noted from Clemente’s account. Firstly, there is no mention of other people with this lone attacker. The inquest tried to get Vorobjovas to make something more substantial of a “suggestion of people behind” [7/122/18] the lone knifeman as he saw the scene, but it was in no sense convincing. Secondly, one gets the impression from Clemente that Boden was forced to the floor and then stabbed; this might explain his impression of interaction between killer and victim that looked like the former assisting the latter, and it would certainly explain why she was being pinned down: someone who had not been made to keel over by a knife blow might be very capable of fighting back. Indeed, the Home Office pathologist who performed the autopsy on Boden wasn’t going to soil his reputation by agreeing with the official narrative regarding how the attack on her had manifested .

Dr Simon Maurice Poole said that Boden had one life threatening injury, with a number of other more superficial cuts and abrasions. The main wound was a cut into her chest from the left side, passing into the right side – moving slightly upward in its direction of travel – which damaged the left lung and heart. Of the other wounds, the most significant appears to be two cuts contributing to a “through-and-through injury to the left upper arm” [17/72/6] (explaining why Clemente saw more than one stabbing). But asked if he would be “able to provide any assistance in reconstructing how the attack took place, Poole answered “Not in any great detail” [17/79/6-8].

So, let us note the significance of the inquest not being able to get the pathologist, who did Boden’s autopsy, to corroborate the information which is shown on Siguenza’s video – and it’s not surprising, because she obviously wasn’t bending down examining other Boro Bistro patrons for injuries, minor or otherwise, when she was attacked (which is what the inquest says she spent all of her last moments doing). Moreover, she was evidently attacked a good deal earlier than 22:08:00, which is the time when the inquest says Siguenza’s footage records the official attackers running towards the Boro Bistro dining area. In fact, the reader has by now seen lots of data by which we can assert that Boden was killed sooner after the van crash than that time. And, add to that data the testimony of Alexandre Colou. As he was moving along the alley at the back of the Boro Bistro, his attention was drawn behind him by Boden, who was trying to make her escape, but was unable to burden her injury any longer. She fell, and Colou went to her to see what he could do (reporting that he saw blood seemingly coming from her belly and chest, although he couldn’t detect the wound). Now, the reader will remember that Colou fled ahead of the official attackers before they encountered Sébastien Bélanger – and yet he found himself fleeing at the same time as Boden.

In fact, to stick our neck out a little bit, we can probably place the time when Boden was attacked at “somewhen” before 22.07.41 – which would be a mere 24 seconds into the incident. To appreciate this possibility, we need to understand a problem that the inquest has with its own narrative. Now, the inquest has footage that it claims shows Boden bending down to assess injuries from debris caused by the crash. The reasoning behind this is that she can’t be looking at any knifing victims at this point because none are yet supposed to have occurred. However, we should note that there does not seem to be any corroboration of her performing this service from other witnesses. Moreover, we would ask the question, why would Boden be bending over to look at people who are seated, but more likely standing because they are reacting to the van crash?

In any case, the inquest also has footage that is used to put Boden in the place she ought to be in order to be attacked by the three official terrorists. It is timed at 22.08.04, and shows events taking place slightly later than the other footage just mentioned. The big problem is, however, this later footage only shows what are supposed to be Boden’s legs. A pair of legs, with the body cropped off the image, is said by the inquest to be “moving towards the corner of the path where Alexandre [Pigeard] collapsed” [9/12/11-12].

So now comes the crisis for the official narrative, and it should present its nature to the reader in this exchange between Hough, QC, and DC Alisdair Hutchison:

And this time, we’ll see at 22.08.09 Kirsty circled again , slightly bent over and moving to the right.

Yes, sir, moving in the general direction of the alleyway that leads through to the Mudlark pub.

This is believed, I think, to be just after she has been attacked .

Correct, sir, yes.

We’ll see that the movement is very different and suggests somebody who has been injured.

Yes, sir.

And it shows, I think, that the attack can have lasted no more than a very few seconds.

[9/13&14/22-8]

Without even dealing with any distance that Boden would have had to travel, because one can’t get a sense of that from the inquest’s descriptions of the imagery, it is highly unlikely that she could have been forced to the floor, stabbed, and then been able to recover to her feet in the space of four seconds. So, the author proposes that what might actually explain some footage of Boden’s bending over before she was officially attacked is that, at that time, she had already sustained an injury. It is impossible to state this theory with complete certainty without seeing the footage, but there might be a clue to it in other evidence.

This is from Melanie Schroeder’s written testimony [9/28/9-13]:

I recognised the person lying on the floor as Kirsty because of her bright pink cardigan. She was lying on her back with her face facing towards me, her left arm up in the air , and looked like she had collapsed .

Now study the image above. It is a still from CCTV that appeared in corporate media. It strikes the viewer as being odd, because it is not clear what Boden (supposedly in the pink) is doing with her left arm. And is that shadow, or blood that can be seen on the left side of her body?

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