The Muslim woman who was photographed looking at her phone while walking across Westminster Bridge as a victim of Wednesday’s terrorist attack lay on the ground has released a statement revealing her thoughts at the time were of ‘sadness, fear and concern’ for all those injured.
Online trolls criticised her on social media after one twitter user posted the picture and accused her of ‘casually’ strolling past the injured woman.
The misconstrued picture was posted by a twitter user called ‘Twitter Lone Star’ with the caption ‘Muslim woman pays no mind to terror attack casually walks by a dying man while checking phone’.
The picture quickly went viral and provoked disgust from many people with one branding the twitter user ‘the real monster here’ for posting the picture.
The photographer who snapped the picture, Mr Lorriman, 28, came out to defend the woman yesterday and said that he thought she looked ‘horrified’ and ‘distressed’.
Speaking to MailOnline, the freelance photographer said: ‘I saw dozens of people walk past and the woman on the phone had just come from the part of the bridge where most of the victims were struck.
‘That is why she clearly looks mortified and it is obvious that she is in shock. The woman would have seen people under buses – she had just walked past the worst of it.
‘She wasn’t the only one walking past injured people and it looked like she just wanted to get off the bridge as quickly as possible.
‘I took three photographs where you can see the woman and I think she looks distressed in all of them.’
The woman, who has not been named, defended herself in a statement released yesterday saying she was ‘devastated after witnessing the attack’.
The woman gave her heartfelt account to Tell MAMA, a group which supports victims of anti-Muslim hate, and they released the statement yesterday afternoon on her behalf.
In the statement she said: ‘I’m shocked and totally dismayed at how a picture of me is being circulated on social media.
‘To those individuals who have interpreted and commented on what my thoughts were in that horrific and distressful moment, I would like to say not only have I been devastated by witnessing the aftermath of a shocking and numbing terror attack, I’ve also had to deal with the shock of finding my picture plastered all over social media by those who could not look beyond my attire, who draw conclusions based on hate and xenophobia.
‘My thoughts at that moment were one of sadness, fear, and concern.
‘What the image does not show is that I had talked to other witnesses to try and find out what was happening, to see if I could be of any help, even though enough people were at the scene tending to the victims.
‘I then decided to call my family to say that I was fine and was making my way home from work, assisting a lady along the way by helping her get to Waterloo station.
‘My thoughts go out to all the victims and their families. I would like to thank Jamie Lorriman, the photographer who took the picture, for speaking to the media in my defence’.