The partner of nurse Kirsty Boden who was murdered in the London Bridge terror attacks has told an inquest how much she loved nursing and that “to her it was more than a job”.
Ms Boden, a senior staff nurse at Guy’s Hospital, was one of eight people killed when three terrorists rammed a van into pedestrians on the bridge before randomly stabbing others at nearby Borough Market.
“It was obvious from the start that Kirsty had a talent for nursing”
An inquest into the eight deaths which got under way at the Old Bailey on Tuesday heard how she died while trying to help others hurt in the attack.
Originally from Australia, 28-year-old Ms Boden was working as a senior staff nurse in recovery at Guy’s, which is part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust.
The inquest heard she was out with friends at the Boro Bistro on the night of 3 June 2017 when the attack took place.
On hearing the sound of a van crashing, her immediate reaction was to get up and go and assist “as she was a nurse”, explained chief coroner Mark Lucraft QC.
She initially went to help a member of the public who had been hurt by falling debris and can then be seen, via CCTV, crouching down trying to help another one of the eight victims, Alexandre Pigeard.
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Previously, another off-duty nurse Helen Kennett had been stabbed in the neck while trying to help Mr Pigeard who was set upon twice by the three knifemen, the inquest was told.
When Ms Boden later went to his aid she was also attacked by the trio, explained senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Rebecca Riggs.
Ms Boden, who has been awarded a posthumous Queen’s Commendation for Bravery for her actions, managed to flee down an alleyway before collapsing. She died at the scene from a stab wound to the chest, the inquest was told.
Ms Boden’s partner James Hodder told the hearing he continued to be “in awe of her bravery that night”.
“Kirsty meant the world to us and we are so proud of her”
“To Kirsty, it would not have seemed brave,” he said. “She loved people and lived her life helping others. To Kirsty, her actions that night would just have been an extension of how she lived her life.”
Speaking via a video link from Australia he explained Ms Boden had decided to pursue a career in nursing after leaving school aged 17.
She attended Flinders School of Nursing where her aptitude for nursing quickly became apparent.
“It was obvious from the start that Kirsty had a talent for nursing,” said Mr Hodder. “This is unsurprising given that Kirsty embodied many of the traits associated with good nursing such as her kindness, empathy and all round loving nature.”
She graduated in 2010 and went on to work at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney where she specialised in recovery nursing.
Ms Boden moved to London in March 2013 and met Mr Hodder when they moved into the same shared flat.
She “continued to excel in her professional career” despite some initial difficulties in trying to join the UK nursing register.
“There was a rocky start in which it looked like Kirsty might be denied her nursing registration but Kirsty persevered and got her registration and eventually got a job working in recovery at Guy’s Hospital,” said Mr Hodder, who described how proud he was when Ms Boden was promoted to senior staff nurse.
“Everyone I met from her work would tell me how highly skilled and dedicated Kirsty was,” he said.
“It was obvious that Kirsty could have reached the top of any area of nursing that she chose,” he added.
“She loved people and lived her life helping others”
Mr Hodder told the inquest that his partner was a “brilliant” nurse who was passionate about her profession.
“Kirsty loved nursing. To her it was more than a job,” he said. “The opportunities it created for her to show someone a little kindness made long shifts more than worthwhile.”
While sorting through her belongings after her death, he told the inquest he had found a folder filled with thank you cards from patients.
“Kirsty never mentioned these cards to me. To Kirsty, kindness was the reward,” he said.
The inquest also heard from Ms Boden’s father Ken who said she was missed “every second of the day”.
“Kirsty meant the world to us and we are so proud of our beautiful, independent, brave, kind daughter, sister and partner,” he said.
In his opening statement, Mr Lucraft told the court that lives were torn apart in “10 minutes of high and terrible drama”.
He said he hoped the inquest would answer the relatives’ “obvious and understandable questions”.
The eight-week hearing will be followed by a separate three-week hearing in front of a jury into the deaths of the three killers who were shot dead by police.