LONDON — A brave scout leader who may have prevented further violence has emerged as an unlikely hero in the apparent terror attack that left a British soldier dead.
Ingrid Loyau-Kennett got off a bus to help the man lying on the street but found he had no pulse and was already dead.
She then tried to reason with the two bloody attackers, continuing to talk to them before police came, trying to keep them calm.
Loyau-Kennett, a 48-year-old mother who lives in Cornwall in southwest England, told media outlets Wednesday night and Thursday morning she was returning from a trip to France and was visiting her children in London when the bus she was on stopped because of the melee.
She said she saw a crashed car and the victim lying on the street and tried to help him because she is trained in first aid. She said a man "with a black hat and a revolver in one hand and a cleaver in the other came over" and excitedly warned her to stay away from the body.
"I asked him why he had done what he had done," the Guardian quoted her as saying. "He said he had killed the man because he (the victim) was a British soldier who killed Muslim women and children in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was furious about the British army being over there."
When the man told her he was going to kill police when they arrived, she asked him if that was reasonable and tried to keep him engaged. Then she spoke to the other attacker, whom she described as quiet and shy.
"I asked him if he wanted to give me what he was holding in his hand, which was a knife, but I didn't want to say that," she said. "He didn't agree and I asked him: 'Do you want to carry on?' He said: 'No, no, no.' I didn't want to upset him," she is quoted as saying in the Guardian.
Prime Minister David Cameron Thursday praised Loyau-Kennett's performance in the tense situation and said she "spoke for all of us" when she told the first attacker he could not win the war he said he was hoping to start on the streets of London.
Loyau-Kennett reboarded the bus shortly before police arrived, watching as officers shot the suspects, who are both hospitalized.