Protesters, family of COVID-19 victims confront former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he appears before inquiry

It didn't take long for protesters to confront former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Britain's COVID-19 Inquiry, despite his efforts to avoid them.  

Protesters interrupted him just as he began his apology for his handling of the deadly pandemic - though he claimed he'd done his level best.  

Three hours early and moving quickly, Johnson was seen making his way into the inquiry on Thursday.  

"Are you going to apologise to the bereaved families Mr Johnson?" one protester asked.   

Johnson was forced to front accusations he was both "too late" and "too slow" to combat COVID-19.   

"Can I say how glad I am to be at this inquiry and how sorry I am for the pain and the loss and the suffering," Johnson said.   

His words of "I'm sorry" were interrupted by protesters who didn't want to hear it.  

"The dead won't hear your apologies," demonstrators' signs read. 

"There must be accountability, no apologies, it can't happen again," one protester told Reuters.  

"I just want answers, I want to know why this has happened, why he didn't learn from the mistakes of the first wave, why he didn't lock down sooner and why my mum died when she didn't need to," another added.   

Johnson admitted he should have realised how serious the virus was sooner than he did, given warnings it would "sweep the world".  

He revealed it was the pictures out of Italy that had rattled him into reality.  

And on Thursday, at times, the scandal-prone politician seemed emotional.   

"We have to be realistic about 2020, that whole tragic, tragic year we did lockdown - but then, it bounced back," Johnson said.   

He will give evidence for two days but he has dominated the inquiry for weeks, with reports he asked UK spies to plan a raid on a Dutch vaccine plant.  

And according to his former advisor, while discussing another lockdown, Johnson had said: "Let the bodies pile high."  

Although the inquiry won't find anyone guilty of a crime, the broken-hearted family members of those lost to coronavirus, have already given their verdict on Johnson's legacy.