Victims of terror attack named
The victims of the London Bridge terror attack were Cambridge University graduates, one of whom had applied to join the Metropolitan Police Service.
The man and woman who died following the terrorist attack near to London Bridge have been formally identified as Jack Merritt, 25, of Cottenham, Cambridgeshire and Saskia Jones, 23, of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire.
Both were graduates of the University of Cambridge and were involved in the Learning Together programme – Mr Merritt as a co-ordinator and Ms Jones as a volunteer.
Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) family liaison officers are supporting their families.
They were fatally injured when Usman Kahn, who was also attending the Learning Together event in Fishmongers Hall, went on the rampage.
After stabbing five people Khan was apprehended on London Bridge by members of the public and one British Transport Police officer in plain clothes before City of London Police firearms officers shot him dead.
It has since emerged Khan was attending the criminal justice event as a former prisoner having been released on licence in December 2018. He was convicted of planning terror attacks with eight other defendants and was told he should not be released from prison until he was no longer a danger to the public.
However, his indeterminate sentence was quashed in 2013 by the Court of Appeal and replaced with a 16-year sentence, with the law at the time requiring that he be automatically released at the half way point without referral to the Parole Board.
As a result of the incident on Friday (November 29) politicians have called for terrorists and those committing serious sexual or violent offences to serve their full sentence before being allowed back into the community.
However, Jack Merritt’s father said he does not want the attack to lead to prisoners being incarcerated for any longer.
In a statement Mr Merritt’s family said: “Jack Merritt, our beautiful, talented boy, died doing what he loved, surrounded by people he loved and who loved him. He lit up our lives and the lives of his many friends and colleagues, and we will miss him terribly.
“Jack lived his principles; he believed in redemption and rehabilitation, not revenge, and he always took the side of the underdog. Jack was an intelligent, thoughtful and empathetic person who was looking forward to building a future with his girlfriend, Leanne, and making a career helping people in the criminal justice system. We know Jack would not want this terrible, 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.
“Our thoughts go out to the relatives and friends of his friend and colleague who died with him in this incident, to the colleagues who were injured, and to his brilliant, supportive colleagues at the University of Cambridge Department of Criminology.
“We respectfully request that the media leave us to grieve in private at this very difficult time.”
Ms Jones’ family have revealed that she wanted to support victims of crime and had applied to join the police.
Her family said: “Saskia was a funny, kind, positive influence at the centre of many people’s lives. She had a wonderful sense of mischievous fun and was generous to the point of always wanting to see the best in all people.
“She was intent on living life to the full and had a wonderful thirst for knowledge, enabling her to be the best she could be.
“Saskia had a great passion for providing invaluable support to victims of criminal injustice, which led her to the point of recently applying for the police graduate recruitment programme, wishing to specialise in victim support.
“This is an extremely painful time for the family. Saskia will leave a huge void in our lives and we would request that our privacy is fully respected.”
One of the three further people injured in the London Bridge incident has now been able to return home. The other two are in a stable condition and continue to receive expert care in hospital, the MPS said.
The University of Cambridge confirmed that one of those injured is a member of its staff.