An inquest heard that Sunday Express Business Editor Mr Ho, 42, confronted the attackers before ringleader Khuram Butt plunged a 12-inch knife into his neck and twisted the blade in an attempt to finish him off. Mr Ho told the Old Bailey how he pleaded with Butt, 27, and his accomplices Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 33, to end their killing spree and said he considered trying to disarm them but feared they would detonate suicide bombs, which they appeared to have strapped around their chests. Eight people died following the attack at London Bridge and Borough Market on June 3, 2017.
Mr Ho was seriously injured at the Black & Blue steakhouse, where he had been drinking with friends.
Earlier that evening, the journalist had intervened when a fight broke out outside the Southwark Tavern – but after police arrived, he decided to go to the steakhouse, instead of heading straight home.
The court heard that soon after he arrived at the restaurant, there was screaming outside and a waitress ran to the front door and locked it.
Moments later, the attackers burst in after smashing it off its hinges.
Dressed in a smart grey suit, Mr Ho told the hushed courtroom that the attackers approached the restaurant with “slow, deliberate, predatory movements” adding: “It was like they were stalking someone. They moved as a pack towards us.”
After Butt forcefully ordered everyone in the restaurant to “lie down on the ******* floor”, Mr Ho recalled how he walked “right towards me, with the knife in his hand, pointing upwards”.
Speaking about the “murderous rage” in Butt’s eyes, Mr Ho said: “He was like an animal. He just wanted to kill people.
“I knew that if I lay down on the floor, I would be dead.
I said, ‘No, you don’t have to do this’, then he lunged at me.”
CCTV footage shows Butt repeatedly stabbing the journalist in the neck.
Mr Ho told the court: “He hit my neck and then he hit it again and tried twisting it. And then I remember the blood.
“Then he came at me again and tried to stab me in the stomach and I remember moving my stomach out of the way and he only got a scratch on me”’
As Mr Ho lay on the floor wounded, Butt went behind the bar and washed his bloodied knife under a tap.
In what was described as “a chilling gesture”, he then wiped the blade dry on his beard and ordered his fellow extremists to move on.
Mr Ho managed to pick himself up and escape into a staff room with Gavin Joseph, who told the court he remembered the terrorists “smirking”.
The two men stemmed Mr Ho’s wounds with a pair of jeans and dialled 999, telling police the men had knives and explosive vests.
Candice Hedge, who was stabbed in the neck while working at Elliot’s restaurant, told how frightened people started “surging” in at about 10pm.
She said they were soon followed by the attackers who were “shouting something along the lines that they were not happy with the way we were living our lives”.
Ms Hedge was attacked as she crouched down to help customers scramble to safety.
She fled to a downstairs kitchen where she waited with colleagues until police arrived.
The inquest also heard about the dramatic moment the attackers were gunned down by armed police.
PC Sam Balfour, who had tried to contain the terrorists before firearms specialists arrived, told the court that Butt “charged” straight at a firearms officer and was “within reaching distance” of him when he was shot.
The hearing continues.