The Streatham terror attack unfolded in front of shoppers who could not believe the horror they were witnessing on an otherwise normal Sunday afternoon.
While recent terror London attacks had targeted high-profile landmarks, Sudesh Amman launched his stabbing spree on an unremarkable stretch of British high street.
The 20-year-old stole a knife from a discount store and ran for 100m along Streatham High Road, stabbing two members of the public before confronting police and being shot dead outside Boots. The attack lasted for just 62 seconds.
Several witnesses told the inquest into Amman’s death that they did not understand what they were seeing, believing the terror attack to be a “YouTube prank” or gang fight.
Onlookers who saw events unfold on 2 February 2020 included shoppers, drivers and a local resident who witnessed the shooting out of his flat window while feeding his daughter’s pet fish.
None were aware that Streatham, a residential suburb in south London, was already at the centre of a major counter-terrorism operation.
Amman, a convicted terror offender, had been housed in a probation hostel there after his release from HMP Belmarsh 10 days before.
After socialising with terrorists inside prison and voicing his own murderous wishes, he was being monitored around the clock over fears he was planning a terror attack.
Several undercover armed police officers were following Amman as he wandered towards Streatham High Road and headed into a shop called Low Price Store, where he had browsed the knife section days before.
Jagmon Singh, who was working in the shop, told the inquest he was helping a customer find a mop when Amman entered.
He asked Amman if he wanted any help but received no answer, and started watching him because he looked “strange” and “disturbed”.
Suddenly, the terrorist grabbed a large kitchen knife from a display and ran out of the shop.
“I ran after him, I tried to catch him, but he took out the knife from its packaging and he stabbed a lady in front of me,” Mr Singh said.
Barbara Wallace, who was in Low Price Store with her husband at the time, recalled hearing the shopkeeper shout at Amman and followed him into the street.
She saw the first victim and then heard what “sounded like fireworks” going off, which was the sound of Amman being shot further up the road.
“I just thought it was maybe some gang violence that was going on, some altercation on the High Road,” she told the inquest.
Footage played to the court showed members of the public scrambling for safety into shops as Amman darted along the pavement, where police believe he was stabbing anyone in reach.
Slawomir Kudla, who lives in a flat above shops on Streatham High Road, told how he was feeding his daughter’s fish when he heard screaming outside.
“I looked out of the window,” he said..” I saw some people who suddenly stopped and then they started to run backwards, to run away.
“I was feeding the fish at that time, and I said to my wife, who was in the kitchen, ‘something’s going on outside’.”
The first victim, a female shopper, was struck in the back from behind and thought she had been shoved by a man she saw run past her.
“I suddenly felt pain in my right shoulder towards my upper back,” she said. “I took about four steps forward when I heard people say ‘she’s been stabbed’, they were running towards me.
“They asked me if I was okay, I saw other people walking along the pavement and I was confused thinking if I’d been stabbed, why were people walking past me? I doubted myself.”
The woman, who survived her injuries, was helped by passers-by before paramedics arrived and took her to hospital.
Seconds later, Amman stabbed a second victim who had just left a cafe and was heading to a nearby Argos.
Thomas Baldwin noticed a man running and “skipping” up the pavement before watching the stabbing, telling the inquest: “I witnessed him thrust his right arm forward and plunge the knife into the other man’s right side of his torso.”
Mr Baldwin and his partner, Katherine Day, got out of their car and ran to the victim’s aid as he stood in shock and Amman ran onwards.
“I didn’t realise that I had been stabbed until I saw the blood,” the victim said. “I felt something on my right-hand side and put my hand down and blood was spurting out and hitting my hand. I didn’t see who did this as they came from behind.”
He collapsed as Mr Baldwin and Ms Day rushed to help him, compressing his wound until paramedics arrived.
“They cut off my top to save my life, I will never forget them,” the victim added. “The girl was crying, saying ‘please don’t go’.”
The man recalled hearing a paramedic say “he’s not going to make it” before losing consciousness, adding: “Thank God for the doctors, or I would be dead.”
Both stabbings were witnessed by undercover armed police officers who were following Amman as part of a planned surveillance operation, and started chasing him after he left Low Price Store.
One officer took aim at Amman as he ran up the high street, but missed and shattered the glass frontage of a Lidl supermarket.
The terrorist continued running past the officer and he gave chase alongside a colleague.
On the other side of the street, Fida Hussain was taking money out of a cash point when he heard screaming and turned to see teenage girls running.
He initially thought Amman was a jogger but then heard shouts of “stop” and saw he was being chased by a man holding a gun.
“I thought it was some sort of a prank that was happening, something that you see on YouTube or something,” he added.
“After the shots were fired the people in front of me were a bit excitable and they were saying, ‘oh, he’s been shot, he’s been shot’. I didn’t know he was actually shooting. I just kept thinking, oh, it’s some sort of prank or something, you know, he’ll get up.”
Another man, who had been shopping with his granddaughter, assumed the unfolding incident was “gang-related”.
“It sounded like an altercation, arguments and shouting,” Timothy Hudson said. “I thought that it was gang-related, because it was a machete, waving it around, and then they shouted to put it down several times and he still had it in his hand.”
Jenny Munday, who had been shopping in Sainsbury’s, saw the moment Amman turned to confront the two officers chasing him outside Boots and was shot.
“I just froze for a moment, as I didn’t know it was the police, I didn’t know what was going on,” she added.
Ms Munday went back into Sainsbury’s to get off the street and recalled: “I spoke to an employee and said ‘someone’s just been shot’ and he said ‘was it real?.”
Another witness, who filmed the police shooting from a bus travelling along the road, could be heard muttering: “This ain’t real, this ain’t real.”