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'Instead of seeing a tragedy, he saw an opportunity': Father of London Bridge victim hits out at Johnson

After the incident, the British Prime Minister blamed Labour’s 2008 law for the attacker’s release from prison.

Image: PA

THE FATHER OF London Bridge victim Jack Merritt has accused British Prime Minister Boris Johnson of viewing his son’s death in the London Bridge attack as a political opportunity.

Former University of Cambridge students Jack Merritt, 25 and Saskia Jones, 23, were fatally stabbed by 28-year-old convicted terrorist Usman Khan on 29 November.

Khan was on licence and wearing an electronic monitoring tag when he launched the attack, which injured three others, after he was invited to a prisoner rehabilitation conference on Friday afternoon. Both Jones and Merritt had been attending the conference.

Boris Johnson posted a lengthy Twitter thread after the attack, which he said “highlighted a complicated area of law”. He also blamed “Labour’s 2008 law” for Khan’s release.

“Those changes meant that although four senior judges considered that Khan was dangerous, he was to be automatically released half-way through because of Labour’s 2008 law. That is why we are determined to change this & ensure dangerous terrorists serve their full sentence,” Johnson said.

In an interview with Sky News, Dave Merritt said he had looked at Twitter the day after his son was killed and thought “this is going in the direction which is all too familiar where there’s an incident like this and immediately people start jumping on the criminal justice bandwagon”.

I spoke to Jack in a lot of detail about his work and I knew how passionate he was about rehabilitation and helping people to redeem themselves. And I could already see it starting to move in the opposite direction and I just thought ‘well my son has just been killed, if anybody is entitled to say anything about this then I am’.

Merritt said “instead of seeing a tragedy, Boris Johnson saw an opportunity”.

“We don’t know all the facts about it yet, Boris Johnson doesn’t know all the facts about it and so what was required was just a dignified approach where the politicians would express their regrets, express their condolences to the people affected and would then get on with campaigning in the election,” he said. 

But what he did instead was to seize what he saw as an opportunity. There was no reference to us, there was no attempt to contact us and discuss this with us or with anyone else as far as I know. He just saw an opportunity and he took it.

He said his son “would have been extremely upset with the way things were developing”.

Tweet by @Sky News Source: Sky News/Twitter

Merritt also spoke to Sky News about the day he found out his son had been killed. 

“It just didn’t seem possible that this had happened, that it was Jack who was involved, it’s always someone else isn’t it?”

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He said his wife first told him Jack had been involved in the incident at London Bridge and they went to the hospital. They were later told he had been killed and they went to Cambridge to break the news to their other son. 

“It was probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do,” he said. 

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