Melton woman reflects on her brush with murderous terrorists

Holly Jones, who survived the London Bridge terrorist attack, with mum Kate and brother Rob EMN-170614-130833001
Holly Jones, who survived the London Bridge terrorist attack, with mum Kate and brother Rob EMN-170614-130833001
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“It was absolutely crazy. People were screaming. It was really hard to take in, seeing the odd shoe here and there, phones lying on the ground and belongings scattered everywhere. There were some very seriously injured people on that bridge and I saw things I never ever expected to see.”

Those comments sound as though they belong in a Hollywood movie but they were made by a young Melton woman who found herself in the middle of the recent terrorist attack in London which killed eight people and injured another 48.

Melton woman Holly Jones pictured being interviewed on the BBC TV News after narrowly escaping being a victim of the three terrorists who attacked people on London Bridge and in Borough Market EMN-170614-131046001

Melton woman Holly Jones pictured being interviewed on the BBC TV News after narrowly escaping being a victim of the three terrorists who attacked people on London Bridge and in Borough Market EMN-170614-131046001

Broadcast journalist Holly Jones, who grew up in Scalford and went to school in Melton, gave her harrowing account to BBC television news colleagues shortly after the incident in which three jihadis drove a van at speed into pedestrians on London Bridge before stabbing people indiscriminately in nearby Borough Market.

And Holly (26) has now spoken exclusively to the Melton Times to give a chilling account of how she cheated death before trying to comfort victims and then desperately reassure family and friends that she was safe.

The day had started so happily for Holly on that fateful day, Saturday June 3.

She spent most of it at a food and drink festival in Carnaby Street with her friend from Stathern, Matt Jordan.

Emergency crews on London Bridge. PPP-170406-085812001

Emergency crews on London Bridge. PPP-170406-085812001

In the evening she had arranged to meet friends for a drink and was walking across London Bridge from the direction of Borough Market.

A van suddenly appeared heading directly for her but Holly managed to somehow get out of the way. She didn’t realise at the time but an horrific event was about to unfold.

“The first thing I remember was the van over-revving,” recalled Holly, who attended St Francis Primary, Long Field Academy and King Edward VII Schools in Melton.

“Then, when it clipped the kerb I thought it was a drunk driver so I had better get out of the way.

“I realised within five seconds, though, that it was much more serious than that.”

She looked into the eyes of the shaven-headed driver of the vehicle as he drove with intent at a couple walking close to her.

Holly believes they were French nationals Xavier Thomas and Christine Delcros. His body was later recovered from The Thames below the bridge and she was seriously injured.

“That kind of hit me harder than anything else,” she said. “I passed them on the bridge because they were walking slowly and then the van came along and hit them into the railings.

“She was conscious but was asking where her partner was. As I comforted her I shouted to the police ‘I think he is in the river’. I have been trying to make contact with her since to see how she is.”

Holly was unaware at the time that the terrorists were then continuing their murderous attack with knives down the road in Borough Market.

“The last thing I saw was when the van went out of sight and I heard this bang, which was obviously when it crashed and they got out,” she said.

Holly has been told she was the first person to call the police and she was interviewed later for several hours as a significant witness.

Witnesses and walking wounded were taken by officers to a nearby hotel, when the true scale of the incident began to dawn on her.

“The most scary thing was that people were walking through the door of the hotel covered in blood, but not with their own blood, with other people’s,” she said.

The breaking news was being covered live on television and worried relatives and friends started to call Holly, including her parents back home in Scalford, Kate and Tom, and her brothers, Liam and Rob, who both now also live in London.

“In the moment, I didn’t consider telling friends and family that I was OK,” said Holly, who will be known to many in Melton from the seven years she worked at the town’s Pizza Express restaurant.

“It was only when I was taken away for police questioning that I saw all the missed calls on my phone – there must have been more than 50 and at least three from my mum.”

Holly spent several hours talking to police at the Shoreditch station as detectives were brought in from across the Home Counties to assist the Metropolitan force.

She finally had an emotional reunion with one of her brothers and a friend in the early hours: “They just gave me a huge hug. And I put one Facebook message up to say ‘I’m fine, thank you everyone’.”

Holly received hundreds of messages via Facebook following her BBC TV News interview, many from people she had never met.

She was also contacted by the BBC Director General, Tony Hall, and head of news, James Harding.

After initially working for BBC East Midlands, she started working in Westminster for the political unit earlier this year.

“I tried to avoid the news reports and the newspapers after it happened because I was so overwhelmed by it all,” she said.

“I’ve had so many messages from people and I’ve been astounded how lovely people are when something like this happens.

“The people who carried this out, I wouldn’t give them the time of day. I don’t even want to read about them or see their names in the papers.”

Holly has already been back to the bridge with police officers and was heartened by what she saw.

“I was so pleased to see that the bridge was the busiest I had ever seen it,” she added.

“Commuters and people who live in London were just walking over it and doing what they always do, almost defiantly.”