‘You just had the feeling these lunatics could be anywhere’ – cabbie describes London attack

Admin (08 June, 2017)

A taxi driver who rushed into the scene of the Borough terror attack to rescue his wife and two strangers has likened it to the 7/7 bombings. Matt Newell, 44, was working in Park Lane on Saturday night when he received a frantic phone call from his wife Laura. The 41-year-old mother had been out ...

17352Forensic officers on Borough High Street following the attack (Credit: Chiara Giordano)

A taxi driver who rushed into the scene of the Borough terror attack to rescue his wife and two strangers has likened it to the 7/7 bombings.

Matt Newell, 44, was working in Park Lane on Saturday night when he received a frantic phone call from his wife Laura.

The 41-year-old mother had been out with two friends in Waterloo and called Matt at about 10pm to tell him she was walking towards London Bridge to head home.

But just five minutes later the taxi driver received another call from his wife who said there had been a terrorist attack.

“There was a different tone to her voice and she said ‘I think there’s some sort of terrorist attack here’,” said Matt, who lives in Surrey and has worked as a taxi driver for sixteen years.

“She said she was at Borough High Street and that a taxi driver had just come up to her and said ‘you’ve got to get out of here fast, you need to run, there’s been a terrorist attack and a policeman has been stabbed’ so they started to panic then and so did other people.

“They started running and I was on the phone to her and then she said she had to run and the police were there and she’d phone me back.”

The next time Laura called, she said she could hear shooting.

“I could hear police officers in the background shouting as well giving them directions, it was a bit crazy to be honest,” said Matt.

“By the second phone call I was at Waterloo and I could see police and ambulances coming from everywhere.

“There were normal vehicles with sirens on top and I knew then it was serious so I started heading towards Borough and roads were beginning to be blocked off.

“I noticed police just jumping out of a van and going to a back street bar and clearing everyone out of there within seconds.

“I could see people wandering around and the fear in their faces. People didn’t know what was really happening because you didn’t know where you could encounter them [the attackers] and they were blocking off streets in the residential areas as well so you just had the feeling that these lunatics could be anywhere.”

Matt directed his wife and her friends to his taxi parked on the outside of the cordon after they reached Borough Station.

But just as they were pulling away, the taxi driver spotted a couple and told them to get in.

“As we were driving away a couple were near me and the woman didn’t have any shoes on,” said Matt.

“She had fear in her face and I told them to get in the cab and drove them away from any sort of danger.

“The lady couldn’t speak, she was so shocked. Her husband was explaining that they were staying at London Bridge at a hotel and they saw the van running over people and they just ran and left whatever they had.

“We dropped them a few miles down the road for some safety and I dropped my wife and her friends home.

“I think the couple lived in Wandsworth but were staying in [central] London for an anniversary or something.”

Matt said he had worked in 2005 during the 7/7 bombings and that the London Bridge attack felt similar.

“It [the London Bridge attack] was scary and worrying because my wife was within the area where it was all happening so from a personal view it was particularly scary although 2005 was a surreal day,” he said.

“We’ve got a nine-year-old son who was with my brother and his wife at the time [on Saturday] and we just played it down that she [Laura] wasn’t that near.”

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