Hero medic says 'overwhelming urge' to save lives during London Bridge attack was rooted in his Judaism

Dr Jonny Moses had just four months' A&E training at the time


A doctor who risked his life to tend to victims as the London Bridge terror attack unfolded has told the JC that the “overwhelming urge” to help save their lives was rooted in his Judaism — and the concept of pikuach nefesh.

Jonny Moses said: “Without it being a conscious thing to perform a mitzvah, I’m very much aware of it, so I know the whole idea of the value of saving a life.”

Dr Moses, 36, told an inquest this week that he had to plead with a restaurant worker to allow him to leave the premises as a woman lay prone in the street, having been stabbed 18 times.

Marie Bondeville was among those Dr Moses helped to save — along with her boyfriend, Oliver Dowling, Christine Delcros and Geoff Ho. Another man he attended to — Spanish banker Ignacio Echeverría — did not survive.

Khuram Butt, 27, Youssef Zaghba, 22, and Rachid Redouane, 30, were shot dead by police after they drove a van into pedestrians, stabbed others, and confronted unarmed police officers on June 3, 2017. Eight people were killed and 48 injured.

Dr Moses, a former City of London School pupil from North-West London, had received just four months’ A&E training at the time of the attack.

As he left the Lobos tapas restaurant on Borough High Street he had no indication that the attack had ended, or that the assailants had been apprehended.

He told the JC: “I knew it was dangerous but I also had an overwhelming urge to help. The priority was helping these people who were bleeding to death.

“As medics the first thing you’re always taught is to not go into danger. Even if you see something happening, you don’t put yourself at risk because you could become a casualty as well.

“I know I probably broke the rules of what you should do in that scenario but I just felt I couldn’t stay in the restaurant when that was happening and I knew there was maybe something I could do to help.

“I know it was extremely risky looking back. I didn’t really think about it. I just got up and ran.”

As he was attending to victims, nearby police officers received a warning – which turned out to be a false alarm – of an armed assailant approaching from behind.

Dr Moses said: “Everything slowed down and my life flashed before me”, recalling that his first thoughts were for his family.

Through tears, he said: “I was just trying to zig-zag, to make myself more difficult to target.

“I just felt extremely grateful for everything – for my life. I thought if I was going to die, I just wanted to be grateful for the life I’ve been given.

“And I thought of my family – my mum, dad, brother, sisters, nieces and nephews – all of them.”

After finding shelter in a hotel, he volunteered to assist officers in keeping distressed members of the public indoors.

At around 5am – roughly seven hours after the attack began – he was de-briefed by police officers, who took his blood-stained clothing as evidence. He took a police-escorted taxi home.

After “supressing” his emotions throughout the ordeal while he was in “professional mode”, he said he broke down in tears as he returned home to his mother.

Dr Moses, who now works in musculoskeletal medicine at London’s Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, was one of a series of witnesses who have given evidence during the inquest, which is in its third week.

He said that his impulse to risk his life to assist was part of his Judaism: “I have had for many years an awareness of the divine. And I feel very connected to that, spiritually.

“One of the things that stayed with me was that we weren’t able to save Ignacio, which was really, really upsetting. I am more than happy – elated – that those people survived.”

The inquest into the deaths of Chrissy Archibald, 30; Sébastien Bélanger, 36; Kirsty Boden, 28; Mr Echeverría 39; James McMullan, 32; Alexandre Pigeard, 26; Xavier Thomas, 45; and Sara Zelenak, 21 continues.


Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive