The London Bridge terrorist’s widow forms a remarkable bond with the SURVIVOR of her husband’s attack

The widow of London Bridge terrorist Rachid Redouane has formed a remarkable bond with a woman whose fiancé was killed in the atrocity.

Charisse O’Leary and attack survivor Christine Delcros hugged and cried during an emotional reunion.

They now send messages to each other on Christmas and the anniversary of the attacks.

This coming weekend will mark five years since Redouane and two other jihadists killed eight people – including Christine’s partner Xavier Thomas – before they were shot dead by police in Borough Market.

The terrorists left 48 injured. Charisse was unaware of her plot, but was consumed with guilt over her connection to Redouane.







Charisee O’Leary spoke about her extraordinary relationship with a survivor of her husband’s attack
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Humphrey Nemar)

And she didn’t tell his six-year-old daughter about his murder spree. But she met Christine after an investigation found the victims were unlawfully killed.

French tourist Christine, who suffered a ruptured pelvis, asked Charisse’s family liaison officer if they could meet after she was moved to tears by her statements at the victims’ inquest on June 5, 2019.

Charisse says: “It was difficult. I got a bit scared, not wanting to say no but nervous about how she would react if she saw me. I had seen her in court, we were sitting across from each other in the visitors’ gallery.

“I was taken to a room in the courthouse. Christine had a translator there. She immediately hugged me and we cried. We were together for about 15 minutes.







Charisee O’Leary received a picture of her husband along with his wedding ring in a “souvenir box”.
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Humphrey Nemar)

“I always blamed myself. She told me ‘live your life and don’t blame yourself’. She said my testimony was so moving.

“I always felt like everyone blamed me for what he did, so it was nice to hear that from a survivor. She was a lovely lady.”

Charisse later wrote to Christine on Facebook to thank her and the couple stayed in touch.

Charisse, 43, adds, “I text her every anniversary and at Christmas to let her know I’m thinking of her and that I’m sorry.”







Victim Christine, left, showed compassion
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And a few days ago, Christine Charisse wrote: “Even if the honors remind me of my trauma, I will not forget our beautiful meeting.”

She told Charisse her daughter is a “ray of light,” adding, “Live each day intensely as if it were your last.”

The tearful Charisse replied, saying, “All you’ve been to me was a good heart.”

Christine told the Sunday Mirror: “Charisse has been unwittingly linked to this tragedy. I wanted to absolve her of guilt about her beautiful daughter.







Charisee O’Leary with Rachid Redouane
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Rachid Redouane was shot dead by the police
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“We hugged tightly and cried together, exchanged kind words and parted with lighter hearts.”

She said of the terrorists: “They didn’t win. Love was stronger. Now we support each other.”

Christine and her fiancé Xavier, 45, arrived from Paris on Saturday morning 3 June 2017 for a weekend of sightseeing.







Charisse and her daughter
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Universal News (Europe))

Late that evening, they became involved in an unimaginable carnage when Redouane, Khuram Butt and Youssef Zaghba drove a van into them and other pedestrians on London Bridge.

Wearing fake suicide vests, they jumped out and stormed Borough Market, stabbing everyone in their path before being shot dead by police.

Christine, 50, found new love with Sebastien Besatti, a survivor of the 2015 Bataclan terrorist attacks that killed 130 people in Paris. They met in a self-help group.

Meanwhile, Charisse faces tough questions from her daughter.






Redouane didn’t let the girl see his music videos

“She wants to know about her daddy and I tell her he got run over,” says Charisse. “She thinks he’s in heaven, and what I’m saying is that he’s in hell. I can’t, not yet. I’m afraid that someone will tell her first or that she will come across it on the internet.

“I hope she doesn’t hate me if I tell her. I hope she doesn’t falter.

“I always just wanted to protect her. I still get very bad days where I feel like I don’t want to be here. But I can’t leave her. She’s my rock, I live for her — she’s such a small character.”

Charisse has a picture of Redouane and his wedding ring – returned by police – in a “souvenir box”. She will eventually show it to her daughter.







Youssef Zaghba of east London, the third attacker shot dead by police after the London Bridge and Borough Market terrorist attacks
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London Bridge attacker Khuram Shazad Butt
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The mother had to give up her job as a nursing assistant and the once lively social life is gone. She has lost friends, has been placed far away from family and is “afraid of her own shadow”.

She says: “I was called a terrorist in the park when I was out with my daughter. That ruined my life.”

Charisse has been counseled but is still awaiting specialized trauma care that has been delayed by the pandemic.

She vividly recalls police smashing down her door 12 hours after the attack. Charisse was held for 36 hours.







The police eventually shot the suspects
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She cried, “I still can’t process it. Someone I was with for seven years – I thought I knew him.”

The couple met in 2010, married in 2012 and had a daughter in 2015. In 2016 they moved to Barking, East London, and it was there that they met pastry chef Redouane, 30, fellow jihadists Butt, 27, and Zaghba, 22.

Charisse said the only sign of radicalization was when Redouane refused to let her girl watch soap operas or music videos “if they make her gay”.

The couple split in January 2017 after Redouane hit Charisse.







CCTV screengrab issued by the Metropolitan Police by Rachid Redouane
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Police officers walk past the scene of an apparent terrorist attack on London Bridge, in central London, June 3, 2017
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She has kept in touch with his family in Morocco, but rules out a visit because it would trigger “too many memories”.

Similarly, she has barely set foot in London since 2017 and an attempt at a new romance turned sour when a man she met through a dating app called her “sick” over the attacks.

Charisse also fears the anniversary. But she will remain strong for her daughter, adding: “She holds onto everything, she’s so smart. For her sake, I try to hold back as much as possible and move on as best I can.”

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/london-bridge-terrorists-widow-forms-27092635 The London Bridge terrorist's widow forms a remarkable bond with the SURVIVOR of her husband's attack

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