Nearly two years ago, Southwark was shaken by unimaginable horror.
The bustle of London Bridge and Borough Market was torn by three terrorists who drove a rented van into pedestrians in an act of carnage, before indiscriminately stabbing others with twelve-inch knives.
Eight were killed; forty-eight were seriously injured; numerous more lives turned irreparably upside-down.
The inquest into the events of June 3, 2017, which opened this week, will establish the facts of what happened on that warm summer’s night and examine whether lessons can be learned for the future.
But it will hear, too, tales of extraordinary bravery in the face of danger.
The humanity of those who rushed to help while three terrorists shattered and snatched lives away with their inhumane acts.
Indeed as Chief Coroner Mark Lucraft remarked in his opening statement on Tuesday: “It is important to acknowledge that many lives were saved by the rapid response of members of the public and by members of the emergency services.”
It is an opportunity, too, for the families of those who tragically lost their lives to share stories of those they loved. The details are heart-rending.
Recollections heard in court from the parents, siblings, partners and acquaintances of the other innocents killed in the atrocity are no less moving.
The inquest continues, and is expected to last weeks. It will be wide-reaching and exhaustive.
This paper will endeavour to cover as much as of it as we can.