A marketing intern "played dead" after being stabbed 18 times because she feared the London Bridge terrorists were about to decapitate her, the Old Bailey heard last week.

Marie Bondeville had enjoyed a romantic meal with boyfriend Oliver Dowling, 34, when they were attacked by three knife-wielding fanatics.

Bondeville thought she was being repeatedly punched as she fell but suffered a series of stab wounds to her face and body. As she lay in the foetal position on the pavement, she begged for the attack to stop and kept calling for help.

Eight people were killed when three terrorists mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge and ran amok around Borough Market in June 2017. Their attackers were shot dead near Borough Market in less than 10 minutes.

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Giving evidence at the inquest into the atrocity, Bondeville said: "I just knew the more I begged the more they attacked me because I was still alive.

"I recall thinking they were trying to cut my head off when they went for the front of my neck. I moved on to my front and tried to protect my neck. It was then that I felt I would die."

Khuram Butt with fellow terrorist Rachid Redouane. Photo / Supplied
Khuram Butt with fellow terrorist Rachid Redouane. Photo / Supplied

She then felt a huge blow between her shoulder blades. "It was like I had been hit with a hammer or an axe," she said.

"It was then that I would say I disconnected from the pain and just played dead."

Bondeville, from Bordeaux in France, said the worst part of the attack was not the pain, but the thought that her boyfriend had died trying to protect her and she could not reach him.

Dowling, a business analyst from Christchurch, suffered nine stab wounds, but also survived. He felt he had been punched when he tried to stop her attackers. He told the court: "I now know that I had been stabbed. The second blow knocked me to the ground."

Bondeville was put into an induced coma for a week and left hospital 25 days later. The couple both made a full recovery and married in France last year.