London Bridge: Family of Usman Khan 'shocked' by attack


Emergency vehicles in London BridgeImage copyright
AFP

The family of London Bridge attacker Usman Khan have said they are “saddened and shocked” by what happened and “totally condemn his actions”.

In a statement, they expressed their condolences to the victims’ families

Khan, who was convicted of a terrorism offence in 2012, killed Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, at a prisoner rehabilitation event on Friday.

Two women and a man were also injured in the attack before Khan was shot dead by armed officers on London Bridge.

In a statement issued through the Metropolitan Police, Khan’s family said: “We are saddened and shocked by what Usman has done.

“We totally condemn his actions and we wish to express our condolences to the families of the victims that have died and wish a speedy recovery to all of the injured.

“We would like to request privacy for our family at this difficult time.”

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West Midlands Police

Khan, 28, was arrested in December 2010 and sentenced in 2012 to indeterminate detention for “public protection” with a minimum jail term of eight years after pleading guilty to preparing terrorist acts.

He had been part of an al-Qaeda inspired group that considered attacks in the UK, including at the London Stock Exchange.

But in 2013 the Court of Appeal quashed the sentence, replacing it with a 16-year-fixed term, and ordered Khan to serve at least half this – eight years – behind bars.

Since his subsequent release in December 2018, Khan had been living in Stafford and was required to wear a GPS police tag.

He was armed with two knives and was wearing a fake suicide vest during the attack at Fishmongers’ Hall on Friday.

He was tackled by members of the public, including ex-offenders from the conference, before he was shot dead by police.

The man injured in the attack has been allowed to return home while the two women remain in a stable condition in hospital.

It comes as Leanne O’Brien, the girlfriend of Cambridge University Mr Merritt who was killed, paid tribute to her partner on Facebook writing: “My love, you are phenomenal and have opened so many doors for those that society turned their backs on.”

Ms O’Brien was seen breaking down in tears as she and Mr Merritt’s family gathered at a vigil in Cambridge on Monday to remember the victims.

Mr Merritt’s father, David, also wrote a piece in the Guardian dedicated to his “absorbingly intelligent” and “fiercely loyal” son.

Also killed was Ms Jones, from Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, who was a volunteer on the Learning Together programme, which was holding an anniversary event where the event took place.

She has been described as a “lovely, lovely woman” who was “fearless” by her former tutor.

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Met Police

Image caption

Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones were both involved with the Learning Together programme, which was holding an event when the attack took place

Friday’s attack sparked a political row over the release of Khan and a debate over the criminal justice system.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was accused of “trying to exploit” the attack “for political gain”.

He blamed Khan’s release on legislation introduced under “a leftie government”, and called for longer sentences and an end to automatic release.

Mr Johnson denied claims he was politicising the attack, saying he had campaigned against early release for some time, having previously raised the issue during his 2012 campaign to be mayor of London.

He said he felt “a huge amount of sympathy” for the relatives of the victims.



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