The youngest victim of the London Bridge attack was killed as she attempted to stand up after falling over in her high heels, an inquest has heard.
Sara Zelenak, 21, was being helped up by 32-year-old James McMullan when they were both were fatally stabbed by the attackers.
Eight people were killed in the co-ordinated van ramming and knife attack around London Bridge and Borough Market on 3 June, 2017.
Ms Zelenak, originally from Australia, had been out drinking with her friend Priscila Goncalves and they were walking to a bar in the area when the attackers’ van crashed into the bridge.Ms Gonclaves described how they heard the “crash” but weren’t sure what had happened.
She said: “We were together. People said ‘run’. I started to run. I thought she was with me and then I looked, she was not.”
Ms Gonclaves managed to find safety at a nearby hotel, but Ms Zelenak had fallen behind, having slipped over.
Mr McMullan stopped to help her up.
One witness told the Old Bailey that the pair then had no time to escape as the attackers set upon them.
They said: “She was completely on the ground. [Mr McMullan] just grabbed her left arm and gently tried to pick her up but by then the attackers were in close proximity and that’s when they started attacking.
“There was no time for him to help her up because the driver and the other terrorists were already running towards them.”
Ms Zelenak was still clutching her mobile phone when she was found by police and had suffered deep cuts to her neck, while Mr McMullan had been stabbed once in the chest.
Officers administered CPR on Ms Zelenak, but to no avail.
Paramedic Gary Edwards told the court he pronounced her dead after observing her “lifeless” body.
According to Gareth Patterson QC, representing the victims’ families, the evening’s wet weather combined with Ms Zelenak’s high-heeled shoes may have contributed to the victim losing her balance and sustaining an ankle injury.
He added that these factors may have made her “less stable than she might otherwise have been when this sudden attack came on her”.
Inquests into the attack are now in their second week and are set to detail the deaths of all eight victims.
The terrorists, Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, were killed by armed police around 10 minutes after they launched the attack.