THE PHOTO: A woman walks past along Westminster Bridge in London on March 22. Picture: REX/Shutterstock
THE PHOTO: A woman walks past along Westminster Bridge in London on March 22. Picture: REX/Shutterstock Shutterstock

London attack: The truth behind that photo

THE woman in this photo was globally shamed and criticised for seeming to "casually" walk past someone dying in the London terror attack.

Photos of the woman, wearing a hijab and checking her phone while walking along Westminster Bridge on Wednesday, went viral.

She was photographed by a news camerman near the scene of a deadly attack that left five people dead and many more injured.

But the photo was picked up by a member of the public and sent out on Twitter with the accompanying caption:

"Muslim woman pays no mind to the terror attack, casually walks by a dying man while checking her phone." The twitter user added the hastag #BanIslam.

Commenters piled on, slamming the woman for appearing to ignore the scene unfolding around her, a scene that included an injured woman (not a man) lying on the ground being attended to by passersby.

Others defended the woman saying there were other photos taken at the horrific scene, including one of a non-Muslim man walking past apparently unconcerned - but no-one had called him out.

On Friday, the photographer who took the image of the woman revealed the truth behind that viral image.

Freelance photographer Jamie Lorriman told the ABC the woman was "distressed and horrified" but described the scene as a "strange sort of calm atmosphere".

"No one was sort of screaming or shouting," he said.

Lorriman said the people who thought the woman was ignoring the dying man had misappropriated the image.

"The people who (criticised the woman in) that picture are being rather selective," he said.

"In the other picture in the sequence she looks truly distraught ... personally I think she looks distressed in both pictures."

The photographer said it would be impossible for people who criticised the picture to know if she ignored the scene or not.

"She probably just wanted to get off the bridge," Lorriman told the ABC.

"I feel so sorry for the woman in the picture. If she's seen this, she must feel awful."

Some put the Twitter user to shame, saying it would not have been appropriate for her to insert herself into the scene because it was already under the control of professionals.

Another Twitter user, Barbara Davis, said: "Can no one see why a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf might be worried for her safety at that point?"

Another user said nobody actually knew what was going on at the time, and a picture could not tell the whole story.

The comments come as more information emerges about the man responsible for launching his Westminster killing spree.

He has been identified as Khalid Masood, 52. He had spent the night before the attack plotting his next move in a hotel room in Brighton.

It's believed he told staff at the Preston Park Hotel that he was "off to London today".

Police traced his last movements from a receipt found in the vehicle he used to mow down pedestrians. According to The Sun, Masood appeared to staff to be "nice man". On his booking note, one employee wrote just that.

News Corp Australia

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