London Bridge

Both London Bridge victims named as Cambridge University graduates

Met Police have named the victims as Jack Merritt (25) and Saskia Jones (23).

LAST UPDATE | Dec 1st 2019, 4:30 PM

unnamed Jack Merritt (25) and Saskia Jones (23) Met Police Met Police

THE TWO PEOPLE who died during a knife attack by convicted terrorist Usman Khan on London Bridge on Friday have been named by police.

28-year-old Khan, who was freed halfway through a 16-year jail sentence, killed two people and injured three others in a knife rampage before being shot dead by police yesterday.

The victims have been named by Met Police as Jack Merritt (25) of Cottenham, Cambridgeshire and Saskia Jones (23) of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire.

Jack Merritt’s family described him as a “beautiful, talented boy” in a statement released by police today. 

The family said: 

[He] 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 terrible.

Saskia Jones’ family said she was a “funny, kind and positive influence at the centre of many people’s lives”. 

They said:

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 third for knowledge, enabling her to be the best she could be. 
Saskia had a great passion for providing invaluable support to victims of criminal justice, which led her to the point of recently applying for the police graduate recruitment programme, wishing to specialise in victim support. 

Both families have asked that their privacy is respected at this time. 

One of who was a member of staff, the university’s vice-chancellor Stephen Toope said today. 

“I am sad beyond words to report that a course coordinator, Jack Merritt, was killed, as was a former student not yet named by the Metropolitan Police,” said Toope.

“Among the three people injured, whose identities have not been publicly released, is a member of university staff.

Our university condemns this abhorrent and senseless act of terror.

incident-on-london-bridge London Bridge killer Usman Khan in 2008 BBC / PA Images BBC / PA Images / PA Images

Urgent review

The attack has prompted the Ministry of Justice to review the licence conditions of every convicted terrorist released from prison, which Boris Johnson says is “probably about 74” people.

The Prime Minister told BBC One’s the Andrew Marr Show that the other individuals were now “being properly invigilated to make sure there is no threat”.

“I think it is ridiculous, I think it is repulsive, that individuals as dangerous as this man should be allowed out after serving only eight years and that’s why we are going to change the law,” he said.

Pushed on what action is being taken, Johnson said he did not want to go into the “operational details”, but said: “I’m sure people can imagine what we’re doing to ensure that 74 other individuals who’ve been let out early on the basis of this Labour change in legislation, they are being properly invigilated to make sure there is no threat.”

Johnson said Khan was under “various conditions”, adding: “He had mentors, he had restrictions on his mobile phone, he had restrictions on internet access.”

In their statement today, the Merritt family said: “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.” 

Meanwhile, the medical director for the NHS in London, Dr Vin Diwakar, said today that one of the three people injured in the attack had been allowed to return home while the other two remain in a stable condition in hospital.

A line of police officers were seen on their hands and knees performing fingertip searches on the bridge today, which remained closed with vehicles and buses still stranded.

incident-on-london-bridge Forensic personnel searching for fingerprints at the cordoned off area on London Bridge Yui Mok Yui Mok

The attack

Khan, who was living in Stafford, was given permission to travel into the heart of London by police and the probation service. He had also been allowed to travel to Whitehall earlier in the year.

Armed with two knives and wearing a fake suicide vest, Khan was tackled by members of the public, including ex-offenders from the conference, before he was shot dead by police on London Bridge.

Footage posted online shows Khan being taken to the ground as one man sprays him with a fire extinguisher and another, reportedly a Polish man who worked at the Hall, lunges towards him with a narwhal tusk believed to have been taken from the wall inside the building.

Khan was part of an al Qaida-inspired terror group – linked to radical preacher Anjem Choudary – that plotted to bomb the London Stock Exchange and build a terrorist training camp on land in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir owned by his family.

A list of other potential targets included the names and addresses of the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in London, then London mayor Johnson, two rabbis, and the American Embassy in London.

incident-on-london-bridge Armed police and emergency services at the scene of the London Bridge attack PA Wire / PA Images PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

In February 2012, Khan, who had been based in Stoke-on-Trent, was handed an indeterminate sentence for public protection, with a minimum term of eight years – meaning he could have been kept in prison for as long he was deemed to be a threat to the public.

The sentence was quashed at the Court of Appeal in April 2013 and he was given a determinate 16-year jail term, with a five-year extended licence period, under legislation which meant he was released automatically halfway through the sentence.

Sentencing law changed later in 2012, and if Khan was given the same sentence today he would have had to serve at least two-thirds and be released only if the Parole Board agreed.

Despite the law change coming into force before Khan’s appeal, he could only be sentenced under legislation in force when he committed his offences.

The Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying Khan was one of its fighters, but did not provide any evidence.

No-one else is being sought over the attack.

With reporting by Hayley Halpin

Press Association
Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel