Anyone looking for a sign of British bravery in the face of terror should look no further than Ingrid Loyau-Kennett.
A British soldier had been hacked to death on the streets of southeast London Wednesday afternoon. His alleged killers carried butcher knives dripping with blood, stalking the scene, police nowhere in sight.
Loyau-Kennett's bus had just stopped in front of the killing. Some people might have shielded their eyes and fled. Instead, the mother of two and Cub Scout leader got off the bus and walked straight for the man whose hands were stained a deep red. He carried weapons. She carried only resolve.
"I just talked to him. He looked like a normal guy. He wasn't high, he wasn't on drugs. A normal guy pissed off with the fact, [as he said], 'Muslim women and children are dying in their countries by the hand of white men,'" she told Daybreak, a morning news program on the British channel ITV. "He was very, very close to me. He was almost touching me... I asked him, what's the point. [He said] 'war in London.'"
- Loyau-Kennett's bus had just stopped in front of the gruesome killing. Most would have shielded their eyes and fled. Instead, the mother of two and cub scout leader got off the bus and walked straight for the man whose hands were stained a deep red. He carried weapons. She carried only resolve.
The man was Michael Adebolajo, a Briton who converted to Islam in 2003 and changed his name to Mujahid, according to Anjem Choudary, the former leader of a banned Islamist Organization whose rallies Adebolajo attended.
Loyau-Kennett, 48, talked with him before police arrived, hoping to keep his focus on her and off the other eyewitnesses. Nearby, a school was just about to let out, and she hoped to shield the children.
Loyau-Kennett admitted she wasn't trained for anything like this, but said her former teacher instincts kicked in.
ITV presenter Lorraine Kelly asked her whether she was afraid.
"No," Loyau-Kennett replied. "Better me than a child. Because, unfortunately, there were more and more mothers with children stopping around. So it was even more and more important that I talk to him and then ask him what he wanted."
British Prime Minister David Cameron today praised Loyau-Kennett by name as he spoke to reporters outside 10 Downing Street. He hailed her as a hero, and said she represented the nation.
"When told by the attacker he wanted to start a war in London, she replied, 'You are going to lose. It is only you against many,'" Cameron said. "She spoke for us all."
Loyau-Kennett, who was in London to celebrate her son's birthday, kept speaking with Adebolajo until she noticed her bus was about to leave.
"So I asked the guy last time, is there anything more I could do for him?
"He said no, 'I just want to shoot the police.'"
Loyau-Kennett got on her bus, assured that the police could handle him. Minutes later, Adebolajo lay on the ground, bleeding after being shot multiple times by a police officer.