'MI5 knew of occasions when two of the men who attacked London Bridge met in the weeks before the atrocity but did not realise what they were planning, an inquest has heard.
The ringleader, Khuram Butt, 27, was under MI5 investigation from 2015 for a suspected desire to stage an attack.
A senior MI5 officer on Wednesday told the inquest into the eight deaths in June 2017 that investigators had material showing that Rachid Redouane, 30, had gone to Butt’s home in March 2017, a visit which was captured on video.
They also knew of a barbecue Butt held in May where Redouane was present and a trip the two men made together out of London.
The witness said Redouane, originally from Morocco, was not identified at the time, but did say MI5 had intelligence in the first half of 2017 linking Butt and a Moroccan man called Rachid as associates who had socialised together on a number of occasions.
The official accepted the security service may have linked Butt to Redouane and the third attacker, Youssef Zaghba, 22, if MI5 had carried out extra inquiries before the attack, but it would have shown them to be friends and not terrorist co-conspirators.
The security chief, known only as witness L, said no intelligence emerged from MI5’s investigation into Butt of attack planning from its extensive surveillance and investigation.
A barrister for the bereaved families had previously accused MI5 and police of missing “opportunities galore” to stop the atrocity.
Jonathan Hough QC, counsel to the inquests, asked: “It might be said … if there had been an effective investigation of Butt with all the tools at MI5’s disposal … it would or should have identified these individuals as significant associates, people worth looking into?”'
Read more: Inquest told MI5 knew two of London Bridge attackers were meeting
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