Police officers respond to the London Bridge attack

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The three London Bridge attackers, who killed eight people in 2017, were lawfully killed by police, an inquest has found.

Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, ploughed into pedestrians on the bridge before stabbing people around Borough Market.

They were shot dead by firearms officers less than 10 minutes after the attack began.

Jurors concluded the attackers “ignored clear warning shouts” from the police.

Chief coroner Mark Lucraft QC had directed them that the only “safe” conclusion was that the three men were lawfully killed.

He told the court no-one during the inquest had criticised the officers involved and it was agreed using anything other than “lethal force” would not have been appropriate.

He suggested jurors may all agree that the armed police officers “acted with courage”.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick welcomed the verdict and paid tribute to the “tremendous courage and professionalism” shown by armed officers on the night of the attack.

“Faced with an appalling and confused scene, they acted calmly, quickly, decisively, and in accordance with their training,” she said.

“There is no greater responsibility for an officer than having to make the split-second decision whether or not to use lethal force.”

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Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba

During the inquest, jurors visited the spot in Stoney Street where Butt, Redouane and Zaghba died and heard accounts of their final moments.

An armed officer identified only as BX46 told jurors he shouted words to the effect of “armed police, stand still, drop the knife”.

He said he thought he was in immediate danger as Butt came towards him with a knife.

“I believe his intention was to use the knife and stab me, kill me and get hold of my weapons,” he said.

He said he then became aware of a belt around Butt’s torso, which appeared to be a suicide vest.

“Now he was an even bigger threat, even with (a distance of) one or two metres, a detonation would be fatal to colleagues, members of the public, anyone in the location,” he told the court.

“So I aimed my rifle towards the male and I was moving back quickly and I moved the fire selector lever to fire and I pulled the trigger.”

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