London Bridge attack: Victim's girlfriend breaks down at vigil in Cambridge

Cheryl Sanders
December 4, 2019

StaffsLive understands that man to be Nazam Hussain, a one-time close friend and terror cell member of the London Bridge attacker Usman Khan.

Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones, both Cambridge University graduates, were participating in a conference organized by the university on prisoner rehabilitation at the Fishmongers' Hall in London, when the attack started.

The attacker, Usman Khan, was convicted on terrorism-related charges in 2012, and had been released from prison a year ago.

His early release has triggered a political blame game in the lead-up to next week's general election.

In a statement released through police, Merritt's family paid tribute to "our lovely, talented boy" who they said had died "doing what he loved".

He said: "The best way to defeat this hatred is not by turning on one another but by focusing on the values that bind us".

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "Like many, I will never forget the bravery of ordinary Londoners and the emergency services who risked their own lives to save others".

A minute's silence was observed at Guildhall Yard in central London and Cambridge.

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

British media said he was a former associate of the London Bridge attacker and had been jailed alongside Khan in 2012 over a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange.

He has also spoken out against newspapers like the Daily Mail and the Daily Express.

"The Staffordshire police continue to carry out further enhanced neighbourhood patrols to reassure local communities following the incident which took place in London on Friday and the arrest of a man last night in Stoke-on-Trent by West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit in connection to a wider ongoing review of existing licence conditions of convicted terrorism offenders", said Staffordshire police deputy chief constable Nick Baker.

The victims were remembered on Monday in services at Guildhall Yard in the City of London and outside the Guildhall in Cambridge, the city where both had studied.

Johnson, however, has criticized the 2008 legislation and said he would introduce minimum 14-year sentences if he is returned to office after polls on December 12.

That is also the view of the main opposition Labour Party, which noted that the Conservatives have been in power for almost a decade but had chosen not to tighten the laws around terrorism sentencing.

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

"We know Jack would not want this awful, 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". Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised a tougher stance on the release of prisoners if his Conservatives win a majority, criticizing the Centre-left opposition Labour Party's leader Jeremy Corbyn as soft on terrorism.

A veteran peace campaigner, Corbyn has also said convicted terrorists should not necessarily serve their full prison terms, and has long said that British foreign policy in the Middle East has played a role in motivating militants.

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