Ter­ror scare at mu­seum

Cab driver’s crash trig­gered ter­ror at­tack panic

Daily Star Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - ■ by ISO­BEL DICK­IN­SON & JIMMY McCLOSKEY sun­day@dai­lystar.co.uk

A CAR ploughed into crowds out­side the Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum yes­ter­day, spark­ing fears of a ter­ror at­tack.

The driver, thought to hold a taxi li­cence, was pinned to the ground by se­cu­rity guards af­ter the ve­hi­cle mounted the pave­ment.

Nine peo­ple were taken to hos­pi­tal suf­fer­ing leg and head in­juries, with two more treated at the scene.

Shocked eye­wit­nesses told how the ve­hi­cle, with three fe­male pas­sen­gers, “drove into peo­ple” be­fore smash­ing into an­other car.

Counter-ter­ror of­fi­cers were at the scene but last night the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice ruled out any­thing ter­ror-re­lated, say­ing it was a road traf­fic in­ci­dent.

Fam­i­lies were seen flee­ing in panic as the sur­round­ing area was evac­u­ated.

Shops and restau­rants were shut down as well as nearby South Kens­ing­ton un­der­ground sta­tion.

Among those who held the driver to the ground was pop star Pixie Lott’s fi­ancé, the model Oliver Cheshire, 29.

He was sit­ting in his Jaguar when the black Toy­ota Prius struck his ve­hi­cle.

Oliver said: “I got out of my car and grabbed him – three of us grabbed him – and some­one phoned the po­lice.”

Footage showed a man be­ing pinned on the ground, with blood on the street be­neath his chin.

A Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice spokesman said: “It is be­lieved a car mounted the pave­ment and col­lided with a num­ber of pedes­tri­ans.

“Eleven peo­ple were found at the scene with vary­ing in­juries and nine of them have been taken to hos­pi­tal, and this in­cludes the man that was de­tained by po­lice.

“Their in­juries are not be­lieved to life-threat­en­ing or life-chang­ing. The in­ci­dent is a road traf­fic in­ves­ti­ga­tion and not a ter­ror­ist-re­lated in­ci­dent.”

Down­ing Street said that Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May had been kept up to date with devel­op­ments.

In a mes­sage on Twit­ter, the Prime Min­is­ter said: “My thanks to the first re­spon­ders at this in­ci­dent and the ac­tions of mem­bers of the pub­lic. My thoughts are with the in­jured.”

Two ter­ri­fied tourists told Daily Star Sun­day of the mo­ment they were or­dered to hide in the base­ment of nearby KCs Café.

Joseph De­Graff and his girl­friend Andy Cut­ting, both 23, took cover un­til they were or­dered to evac­u­ate by a po­lice of­fi­cer.

Joseph, from Wash­ing­ton DC, said: “We were sit­ting in the café, about to go to the mu­seum, when we saw a stam­pede of peo­ple and some­one told us to, ‘Hit the ground’.

“We went to the base­ment, we were there for about five min­utes. Po­lice told ev­ery­one to get out. There was a stam­pede of peo­ple run­ning along the pave­ment.

“When I looked around there were about 10 to 15 po­lice cars parked.

“We’ve only been in Lon­don since yes­ter­day, but it hasn’t put us off the city.”

Deb­o­rah Terry told how she saw se­cu­rity guards rush­ing through the Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum mo­ments af­ter the in­ci­dent – but had no idea what had hap­pened un­til she checked her phone dur­ing a cof­fee break.

Deb­o­rah, 50, said: “We saw mem­bers of staff rush­ing about inside, but had no idea what was go­ing on. Ev­ery­one seemed to be very calm.

“It was only when we sat down in the café af­ter hav­ing a look around and we checked our phones that we re­alised some­thing had ac­tu­ally hap­pened”

■ALERT: Armed po­lice. In­set, se­cu­rity guards with in­jured driver

■ SMASH: Wrecked Toy­ota Prius out­side the mu­seum

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