The two victims of an attack committed in 2019 by a man convicted of terrorism near London Bridge, in the capital of the United Kingdom, were killed because of failures of the authorities, concluded the British justice, Friday, May 28.
On November 29, 2019, Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, two Cambridge University graduates, were fatally stabbed by Usman Khan during a conference on an inmate reintegration program he was attending .
The 28-year-old assailant was convicted of terrorism and released halfway through his sentence, eleven months before committing the attack which also left three people injured.
Jurors at Guildhall, London, criticized the various agencies involved in the follow-up to Usman Khan, saying there had been “Failures in management” of this man and “A lack of responsibilities”. They also criticized the risk assessment made by the conference organizers. Jurors concluded that there had been “Missed opportunities to get advice from experienced people” as to the follow-up of the man.
Sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2012
Usman Khan was convicted in January 2012 for preparing for terrorist acts. He was involved in an Al-Qaida inspired project to set up a training camp in Pakistan and to carry out a bomb attack on the London Stock Exchange. Sentenced to sixteen years in prison, he was released under an electronic bracelet in December 2018, after less than seven years spent behind bars.
Speaking to the BBC, David Merritt, the father of one of the victims, said Mr Khan should have been watched more closely, citing his past and a psychologist’s assessment that the man represented still a high risk. “With all this information, you would have thought that the authorities would have put in place a system to monitor and track it effectively as well as to ensure the safety of the public, but they failed to do so.”Mr. Merritt said.
The family of Saskia Jones, for their part, argued that “The conclusion of the investigation does not[ait] in no way the pain of Saskia’s death and left[ait] a number of unanswered questions regarding the failures of several organizations and individuals ”.