London Bridge attack: Family of terrorist Usman Khan 'saddened and shocked'

3 December 2019, 17:24 | Updated: 3 December 2019, 18:43

The family of London Bridge attacker Usman Khan have said they are "saddened and shocked" and "totally condemn his actions".

They also expressed their condolences to the two victims who died and those who were injured in the violence on Friday.

The family of Khan, who was a 28-year-old convicted terrorist, said in a short statement issued through the Metropolitan Police on Tuesday: "We are saddened and shocked by what Usman has done.

"We totally condemn his actions and we wish to express our condolences to the families of the victims that have died and wish a speedy recovery to all of the injured.

"We would like to request privacy for our family at this difficult time."

Cambridge University graduates Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, were stabbed to death by Khan during a prisoner rehabilitation event they were supporting at London's Fishmongers' Hall.

Leanne O'Brien, the girlfriend of victim Jack Merritt, described him as a "phenomenal" man on Monday.

She wrote in a Facebook post: "My love, you are phenomenal and have opened so many doors for those that society turned their backs on."

The family of Mr Merritt had earlier gathered to pay tribute to him and Miss Jones at a service in Cambridge, in which Ms O'Brien was seen breaking down in tears.

Mr Merritt's father David wrote in the Guardian how his son would have been "livid" at how his death has been used to "perpetuate an agenda of hate", amid criticism of the prime minister for politicising the tragedy.

David Merritt wrote: "He would be seething at his death, and his life, being used to perpetuate an agenda of hate that he gave his everything fighting against.

"We should never forget that. What Jack would want from this is for all of us to walk through the door he has booted down, in his black Doc Martens."

Mr Merritt, from Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, was a co-ordinator for Learning Together, a programme aimed at bringing offenders and people in higher education to "study alongside each other".

Miss Jones, a volunteer on the programme from Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, was described as having "great passion" for providing support to victims of crime by her family.

They said in a statement: "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."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sought to blame Labour for the early release of the convicted terrorist as the political row over the knife attack intensified.

Mr Johnson said Khan, who was freed halfway through a 16-year jail sentence, was on the streets because of laws introduced by a "leftie government".

Mr Johnson accused Mr Corbyn of backing terror groups and Russia over Britain's allies in NATO in an interview with The Sun on Tuesday.

Khan, who was living in Stafford, Staffordshire, was given permission to travel into the heart of London by police and the probation service.

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

One of the three people injured in the attack has been allowed to return home while the other two remain in a stable condition in hospital.