The London Bridge attackers moved like a “wolf pack” as they roamed around Borough Market stabbing victims, an inquest has heard.
British Transport Police officer Wayne Marques fought all three terrorists after running to the aid of a couple who had been stabbed on 3 June 2017.
The Old Bailey heard Marie Bondeville thought the trio were going to “cut her head off” after she tried to stop them stabbing her boyfriend Oliver Dowling.
PC Marques told the court he was on patrol when he heard a woman’s scream, as people started running up and down Borough High Street in panic.
As he went to investigate, he was accosted by a man running, pointing and saying: “Mate, this guy’s been stabbed.”
PC Marques, who had only a stab vest and baton, found another victim in a pool of blood before he saw a man grab Ms Bondeville.
“I turned around to see who was screaming and where it was coming from,” he said. “She appeared to be trying to run, stumbling, coming towards my direction.”
PC Marques recalled seeing a man appear to punch Ms Bondeville to the ground, then straddle her with her head between his hands.
“He seemed to look up and I believe he then let go of Marie and stood up,” the officer added, describing how the attacker had stabbed Mr Dowling in the head and neck.
He said: “I knew I did not have long before Oliver was probably going to die in front of me. I got my baton out and charged the first attacker.
“I just sucked in as much as I could as if I was going in for a fight.
“My intention was to hit him as hard as I could with all my weight behind me with everything I had. I knew he was trying to kill the man on the floor.”
PC Marques described striking the terrorist in the head and punching him before he felt an “almighty blow” to his head that blinded him in his right eye.
“At this point I saw a knife coming towards me – through instinctive reaction I defended myself,” he added, describing a “messy fight” as the two other terrorists joined the fray.
“I was aware I was being stabbed and cut but did not really feel the pain as such. Fighting for your life, the adrenaline has taken over.
“My job at that stage was to hold on and keep them fighting until the cavalry arrived … I ended up having a voice in my head just telling me ‘don’t go down, don’t go down’.”
One of the men shouted “Allahu akbar” three times, as if they were preparing to “finish him off”, but the fatal attack never came, PC Marques said.
He told the court that the attackers appeared well-trained and “knew what they were doing”, moving in a close-knit formation like a “wolf pack”.
PC Marques was stabbed at least eight times but has since returned to work. He was awarded the George Medal for bravery, alongside PC Charlie Guenigault and victim Ignacio Echeverria, who was murdered after beating the terrorists with his skateboard.
PC Guenigault, of the Metropolitan Police, was off duty and walking home after watching the Champions League final when he heard a man say: “Help I’ve been stabbed.”
He called 999 before seeing PC Marques and another officer appearing to break up a fight.
“I sprinted over towards them. I just threw myself into this bundle of people,” PC Guenigault told the court.
“It’s unclear to me what happened. I was faced with three people in vests with knives in my direction … they wanted to kill me.”
Two of the attackers came over and stabbed him in the back and eye, and PC Guenigault recalled thinking he would “get one in the head and one in the chest to finish me off”.
Ms Bondeville survived the attack, in which she was stabbed 18 times, as did Mr Dowling, who was stabbed in his neck, chest and back.
In a statement read to the court, Ms Bondeville remembered “begging for them to stop” as she was relentlessly attacked on the ground.
“I recall thinking they were trying to cut my head off when they went for the front of my neck,” she added. “I moved on to my front and tried to protect my neck. It was then that I felt I would die.
“I was sure Oliver was dead and I had stopped begging them.”
The couple had just left the nearby Lobos tapas restaurant when Mr Dowling described people running past shouting.
He did not hear what they said before he came face-to-face with the three attackers and they “closed in” and stabbed him.
“I heard Marie shout something like ‘what are you doing? Leave him alone!’” Mr Dowling said. “I then heard Marie scream.”
He paid tribute to a member of the public, called Lee, who helped paramedics to plug the wound to his neck and carry him over London Bridge to an ambulance while keeping him conscious.
“He told me he was getting married soon and that we would need to go for a beer together,” Mr Dowling recalled.
The inquest has heard numerous accounts of bravery and selflessness by people who rushed to help victims and tried to take the terrorists down.
Coroner Mark Lucraft QC said the attack saw “extraordinary bravery in the face of extraordinary brutality”.
Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, killed eight people and injured 48 more in a rampage that lasted 10 minutes before they were shot dead.
The victims were Xavier Thomas, 45, Christine Archibald, 30, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, Sara Zelenak, 21, Kirsty Boden, 28, Sebastien Belanger, 36, James McMullan, 32, and Mr Echeverria, 39.
Additional reporting by PA