A Millwall fan who was stabbed eight times after confronting knife-wielding jihadis in the London Bridge terrorist attack five years ago has said he is coming to terms with not getting an award.
‘Lion of London Bridge’ Roy Larner spent two weeks in hospital after the brutal attack on the evening of June 3, 2017, but was not given an award for his bravery, despite various petitions supporting him gaining tens of thousands of signatures.
Two racist incidents – one before and one after the attack – are likely to have been a factor that prevented him getting an award, despite other people who confronted the terrorists on the night getting medals.
Speaking to the News on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the attack, Roy said: “I’m not really into awards – I’ve had ‘thank yous’, that means a lot more to me than any medal.”
He added that he felt remorse for the racist incidents, which were “wrong”. He was given a suspended jail sentence and fined at the time. But he still feels that he has been “airbrushed” out of the history of the attacks. “Two police officers got medals, just for keeping them at bay. I was the one getting stabbed to pieces…Mostly, I just think I’m lucky to have got out of there alive,” he said. “I’ve got a good hiding, I’m lucky to be alive.” He said he was also grateful to the two police officers who found him on the street and took him to hospital.
Roy still suffers flashbacks to the attack, and said “silly little things” like “preferring an empty bus to a full one” continue to bother him. “I have my ups and downs obviously, and I’m having counselling.” He is not really in touch with other London Bridge survivors, but has spoken to someone who was on Westminster Bridge during the terror attack in April 2017.
Physically, Roy is mostly fine although his arms are weak from tendons damaged in the attack, when he was stabbed in his arms, hands and neck as well as suffering a punctured lung. Luckily the attackers mostly missed his major organs.
He recently saw CCTV footage of the attacks for the first time, which he said gave him some sense of closure. “It weren’t nice seeing it, but it helped.” He said he remembers getting stabbed the first two times, although he does not remember most of what happened that night.
Roy added that he never remembered his famous line ‘F*ck you, I’m Millwall’ until he heard an audio recording of the attacks, which confirmed to him that he did say it.
He now has a council flat in Nunhead and said he tries to keep busy, although he is taking his recovery slowly and is not back at work yet. Millwall give him a free season ticket each year.
Asked if with the benefit of hindsight, he would still go to the Borough High Street pub where the attack happened, he said: “Yes. I would have to say yes all the time…
“You’re not sure what you’re thinking in those moments, but that twenty seconds has probably given some people a bit of time to escape.”