Irish witness tells of his lucky escape in London terror attack

Lawyer saw people strewn about ‘every 10 yards’, apparently lifeless

Police and forensic officers at the scene of the terrorist attack in which a number of pedestrians were mowed down on Westminster Bridge on Wednesday. Photograph: Carl Court/Getty Images

An Irish lawyer who narrowly missed being on the part of Westminster Bridge where Wednesday’s attack took place has described seeing people strewn around the footpath in the immediate aftermath.

Michael Kingston, originally from Goleen in west Cork, was at a meeting nearby and was slightly delayed in leaving – two crucial minutes he believes prevented him from crossing a set of traffic lights in time to be on the side of the bridge where pedestrians were struck.

He told The Irish Times how he saw the vehicle involved in the attack plough into a railing. "To me immediately it was [obviously] a terrorist act," he said.

Mr Kingston added that there were people strewn “every 10 yards”, apparently lifeless. “Clearly had I been two minutes earlier and crossed at the lights and crossed the bridge on the other side I would have been part of that. There were people there before the ambulances arrived panicking; bystanders just trying to help people.”


Mr Kingston, a lawyer specialising in maritime safety and the director of the Irish Cultural Centre in London, said there was a "subdued" atmosphere in the city in the aftermath of the attack.

He described how after the car had crashed into the bridge, more commotion erupted outside the politicians’ entrance to the House of Commons nearby, involving “police and running and then four loud shots”.

A tourist boat in the river, with child passengers, was close enough for them to witness the incident.

“I feel fortunate that where life is . . . you don’t know what to expect do you? I went to the toilet and fixed the leg of a chair [before leaving the office], or I would have been on that side of the bridge,” Mr Kingston said.

“I feel totally sad for people who have suffered utter tragedy tonight and for that policeman [who died].

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times