A "loo stop" may have saved a former Whanganui woman from being a victim of Saturday's London terror attack.

Melanie King was near Borough Market, next to London Bridge, when the attacks happened.

Pedestrians were run down by three men in a van on London Bridge. The attackers then went on a stabbing frenzy among the Saturday night crowds in the market.

Seven people died and 48 were injured.


King told the Whanganui Chronicle it was only one of her "legendary" loo stops that meant she was not on London Bridge when the van was mowing people down.

Melanie King
Melanie King

She ended up holed up in a pub as the drama unfolded, and witnessed a woman screaming and clutching her neck after being stabbed.

King, 57, who works in London for computer giant IBM, had been in the city for the afternoon and was walking near Borough Market with two friends to catch a train to her Croydon home when the attacks happened.

She went into the Old Thameside Inn to use the toilet before heading for the train. When she came out of the pub she saw people running and yelling in the street.

"Then I saw a younger girl running towards us and she was clutching her neck and she was screaming.

"She was absolutely terrified - her eyes were wide."

Soon after the manager of the pub came out on to street.

"He yelled at us to 'get in the pub, get in the pub now'."


London Bridge was about 50m away and King said she could see red buses lined up on the bridge. The traffic wasn't moving.

"There were blue lights flashing up on the bridge and there was a police boat on the river."

King and her friends were locked in the pub with about 150 other people and moved into the back of the premises.

"Then we were told to go downstairs to the basement bar.

"That's when it got really noisy and everyone was talking. There were definitely a couple of people who were worried but generally everyone was just talking to one another. I wouldn't say it was panic."

The pub manger was updating them on what was happening and at one point asked if anyone had medical experience.

Melanie King hid in a pub during a terror attack in London.
Melanie King hid in a pub during a terror attack in London.

They were there for about an hour before being evacuated by police.

"And it was completely empty outside. I think we were the last pub on that side of the Borough Market to be evacuated," she said.

"It was quite spooky - normally at that time of the night everything is really, really busy.

"We were all in single file and there were armed guards every 10 metres.

"We were escorted down to Southwark Bridge and then we had to run across it, at which point there was a little bit of panic. I think they just didn't want groups of people on the bridge."

King, who returns to Whanganui every year to see her father, caught a bus home to Croydon. She said what had happened didn't really sink in until the next morning.

"We didn't really appreciate the night before how close we were to everything that was going on."

She said if not for her toilet stop she would have been on the bridge at the time.

People flee from London bridge after Saturday’s attack
People flee from London bridge after Saturday’s attack

"Absolutely perfect timing - my friends laughed at me because my loo stops on the way home are legendary.

"We would've gone up and stepped up on the London Bridge exactly when it happened."

A service manager for IBM, King has lived in London for 32 years and said the experience had not given her second thoughts about living there.

She said such tragedies could happen anywhere.

"I could come back to New Zealand and there could be an earthquake.

"It was a little bit too close for comfort, but that's just what happened.

"I've had my experience with that now, thank you very much, and I don't need it again."

Emergency personnel on London Bridge after an incident in central London.
Emergency personnel on London Bridge after an incident in central London.