One of three Australians injured in a terror attack in London was trying to hide from one of the terrorists when he spotted her, doubled back and stabbed her in the throat, family members have told the ABC.
Brisbane woman Candice Hedge, 34, was among 48 people injured by three terrorists who also killed seven people during a rampage in the British capital on Saturday night.
British police have arrested 12 people in the city’s east in connection with the attack and carried out multiple raids.
Ms Hedge, who moved to London a year ago, called her friends and family in Queensland to say she was “OK”.
Her grandfather Brian Hedge told the ABC his granddaughter’s friends and family in Dalby on the state’s Western Downs were shocked by the news.
He said his granddaughter was working in the area when she was targeted.
“She works in a restaurant near there and I’m not sure if it was in the restaurant or in the other area around it like markets — and she was hiding apparently and someone was leaving and saw her hiding and came back and stabbed her — bloody awful,” he said.
Mr Hedge said the family had been told she was expected to make a full recovery.
“They said she’s doing well and that’s all we’ve got,” he said.
“She’s saying that she’s feeling well, a bit sore of course but she’s going good.
“She’s been over in England about 12 months and travelling around working and met a nice English fella and went over there.
“She really enjoys life and she’s really good at her job — a gorgeous girl.”
Ms Hedge’s father Ross Hedge spoke of his fear during the attacks, and said it had taken “a fair while” to find out any information.
“I was terrified, of course,” he said.
“I talked to her last night — she got to hide and thought she was good enough, and then just at the last minute he came back and stabbed her.”
But he said she was very lucky not to be more seriously wounded.
“She’s got a stab wound in the throat somewhere, but it’s all good, there’s no major damage.”
‘Don’t know how she’ll be emotionally’: mum
A former work colleague at a Brisbane restaurant said Ms Hedge had called him from London’s St Thomas’ hospital to say she had been stabbed once in the throat, but her injuries were not life-threatening.
Ms Hedge told him the stab wound had missed her main arteries and windpipe and she was recovering well after receiving stitches.
He said she was in good spirits despite her ordeal.
Ms Hedge’s mother, Kim Del Toro, has told the ABC her daughter had contacted her via Skype after undergoing surgery in hospital.
“She’s called me from her hospital bed. She had a bandage around her neck. They just operated on her yesterday,” Ms Del Toro said.
“She couldn’t speak but she gave me the thumbs up to say she is going to be OK.
“She is going to be OK in that way — I don’t know about how she is going to be emotionally — but she is OK with everything that has happened.”
Ms Del Toro said it was very hard being so far away from her daughter, who would be in hospital for about a week.
“It’s terrible — I didn’t really speak to her because she couldn’t say too much, but it’s just really good to know she’s going to be OK,” she said.
Ms Del Toro said she found out about the attack on the news.
“I rang my … other daughter and she rang her boyfriend and he got in contact with her and then she got in contact with me,” she said.
“I was really, really scared but I eventually got onto the hospital and they spoke to me and said she had gone to surgery and she had a knife wound in the neck.
“I often used to say to her just jokingly ‘be careful Candice’ … and she’d say ‘I’ll be right mum’.”
Ms Del Toro said everything was up in the air and she did not know yet whether she would travel to London to be with her daughter.
“I’ll know a bit more later on,” Ms Del Toro said.
“She went over with her boyfriend — he lives in London. She … was really happy there — I don’t know how she feels now.”
Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath, who is in the UK as an observer for this week’s national elections, said she was hoping to make contact with Ms Hedge.
“It’s difficult to get to the hospital because they’re just overwhelmed by the number of victims in the hospitals,” she said.
“I’m in London on Friday, so I’m hoping I might get the opportunity to go visit her if she’s still in hospital at that point.”