Girlfriend of London Bridge terror victim Jack Merritt breaks down at vigil

Remigio Civitarese
Dicembre 2, 2019

Family and friends of the victims Saskia Jones, 23, and Jack Merritt, 25, attended on Monday a remembrance service in Cambridge University, where both victims had been students, according to Sky-News.

Merritt, a course coordinator at Cambridge University's criminology institute, and Jones, a volunteer, died as they helped host an event near London Bridge to mark five years of a prisoner rehabilitation initiative.

Khan had participated in Cambridge's "Learning Together" initiative, promoting prison-based education, while serving some of his sentence for terrorism offenses at Whitemoor Prison, in eastern England.

Politicians, who are campaigning ahead of Britain's December 12 election, immediately sought to deflect blame for the first fatal attack in London since 2017.

He was later shot dead by police after being accosted by members of the public on London Bridge.

Johnson has ordered the security services to step up monitoring of convicted terrorists released early, saying the cases of 74 individuals were being scrutinised.

He was imprisoned there before his release on licence in December past year.

Referring to his previous remarks about shoot-to-kill, he says: "The points I made in the past particularly in relation to Northern Ireland - this is going back quite a long way - was that there was a concern in Northern Ireland that the police were adopting a shoot-to-kill policy when it was possible to arrest people rather than shoot people". "It's not lenient policies that are to blame, it's the destruction of the probation service that is supposed to monitor and supervise prisoners after release, & rehabilitation services", he added.

The man - so far named only as "Mohammed" - happened to be at the scene on Friday and then courageously charged towards the Islamist extremist who was holding two knives in either hand and wearing a fake explosive belt.

The attack raises hard questions for Britain's government and security services.

Philip Lee, a former Conservative justice minister who quit the party and joined the opposition Liberal Democrats, accused the prime minister of "misleading and lying" with his simplistic depiction of the problem. The site appears to have been removed since the attack. "The reason this killer was out on the streets was because of automatic early release which was brought in by a leftie government", Mr. Johnson said Sunday. "But tell you what members of the public just don't do that nowadays", he said.

But Ian Acheson, a criminologist who led a government-commissioned review into Islamic extremism in British prisons, said United Kingdom deradicalization programs were ineffective and overstretched authorities were ill-equipped to deal with extremists determined to play the system.

"They are being properly invigilated to make sure there is no threat", Johnson told the BBC in an interview.

Khan, who was living in Stafford, was given permission to travel into the heart of London by police and the probation service. Police said one of the three has returned home while the other two remained in stable condition at a hospital. The third was discharged.

Merritt's family also cautioned against knee-jerk responses.

"We know Jack would not want this bad, isolated incident to be used as a pretext by the government for introducing even more draconian sentences on prisoners, or for detaining people in prison for longer than necessary", they added.

In the wake of the attack, authorities are urgently reviewing the release of more than 70 other former terror prisoners.

Counter-terrorism officers arrested 34-year-old Hussain over the weekend from Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, the central England region where Usman Khan also hailed from. Police said Monday he had been returned to prison for violating his release conditions.

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