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Boyfriend’s frantic hunt for victim of bridge terror

Tragic: CCTV of Miss Cristea on bridge PICTURE: PA

THE partner of Westminster terror attack victim Andreea Cristea considered jumping into the Thames in a desperate effort to save his girlfriend, an inquest heard.

Andrei Burnaz was sightseeing with the interior designer (both pictured) when Khalid Masood drove along Westminster Bridge, hitting pedestrians. Ms Cristea, 31, was knocked into the river. The Romanian national, one of five people killed in the attack on March 22 last year, died in hospital two weeks later.

Her boyfriend, who had planned to propose later that day, was himself injured. Amid the confusion, he said he ‘ran around’ searching but couldn’t see his partner. ‘I thought she was stuck underneath the car or something,’ he said. ‘I tried to call her on the phone, it started ringing and I thought this is positive, but I found her phone and her glasses in a pool of blood.’

Mr Burnaz phoned Ms Cristea’s sister Magda and told her he suspected she was in the river. The 31-year-old said he tried to explain to an officer what had happened but ‘he only started yelling and said, “Get back, get back, clear the area”’. Mr Burnaz added ‘nobody did anything’ so he ‘thought maybe it would be better to jump in the river to search for her, but I didn’t’.

Later the Old Bailey heard minutes were lost rescuing Ms Cristea. Witness Michael Brown saw her being flung into the water and shouted at a passing tourist clipper, but the first mate Danny Cooper initially thought the body was ‘garbage’. Gareth Patterson QC, representing Ms Cristea’s family, said she had been face down for two minutes when first secured by a hook, but remained immersed for five minutes before being pulled out.

Mr Cooper feared the body had been in the river ‘a long time’ and would ‘fall apart’.

The inquest continues.