2019 London Bridge stabbing

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Coordinates: 51°30′29″N 0°05′16″W / 51.50806°N 0.08778°W / 51.50806; -0.08778

2019 London Bridge stabbing
Fishmongers' Hall in the City of London.jpg
Fishmongers' Hall, with London Bridge in the foreground. The attacker was shot near the street name plate on the bridge pier.
2019 London Bridge stabbing is located in City of London
London Bridge
London Bridge
2019 London Bridge stabbing is located in Greater London
2019 London Bridge stabbing
2019 London Bridge stabbing is located in the United Kingdom
2019 London Bridge stabbing
LocationLondon Bridge, London, United Kingdom
Date29 November 2019 (2019-11-29)
13:58 GMT (UTC-0)
TargetPeople at Fishmongers' Hall and on London Bridge
Attack type
Stabbing
Deaths3 (including the attacker)
Injured3
AssailantUsman Khan

On 29 November 2019, five people were stabbed, two fatally, in Central London. The attacker, Usman Khan, had been released from prison in 2018 on licence after serving a sentence for terrorist offences.

The attacker was attending an offender rehabilitation conference in Fishmongers' Hall when he threatened to detonate what turned out to be a fake suicide vest and started attacking people with two knives taped to his wrists, killing two of the conference participants by stabbing them in the chest.[1] Several people fought back, some attacking Khan with a fire extinguisher and a narwhal tusk as he fled the building and emerged on to London Bridge, where he was partially disarmed by a plain-clothes police officer. He was restrained by members of the public until additional police officers arrived, pulled away those restraining him, and shot him dead.

Background[edit]

A conference on offender rehabilitation was held on 29 November 2019 in Fishmongers' Hall, at the northern end of London Bridge, in the City of London, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Learning Together, a programme run by the Cambridge Institute of Criminology to help offenders reintegrate into society following their release from prison.[2] Learning Together was set up in 2014 by University of Cambridge academics Ruth Armstrong and Amy Ludlow from the Faculty of Law and Institute of Criminology[3] to "bring together people in criminal justice and higher education institutions to study alongside each other in inclusive and transformative learning communities"[4] to enable students and prisoners to work together.[3]

Former prisoner Usman Khan had been invited to the conference as a previous participant in the programme,[5] and although banned from entering London under the terms of his release, he was granted a one-day exemption to attend.[6][7]

Attack[edit]

At 13:58 on 29 November, City of London Police were called to Fishmongers' Hall after Khan, wearing a fake suicide vest, threatened to blow up the hall.[8] Holding two kitchen knives taped to his wrists, he began stabbing people inside the building.[9] Several fought back, including a chef working at Fishmongers' Hall who grabbed a 1.5 metre long narwhal tusk from the wall to use as a weapon,[10] and a convicted murderer attending the conference on day release.[11][12] Khan fled and began stabbing pedestrians outside on the north side of the bridge.[12]

Several people were injured before members of the public, including a tour guide[13][14] and a plain-clothes British Transport Police officer, later seen walking away with a knife, restrained and disarmed Khan on the bridge.[9][15] One of the people who stepped in to fight the attacker drove him back by spraying a fire extinguisher.[16][11] Armed officers of the City of London Police arrived at 14:03 and surrounded the attacker, who at the time was being restrained by a member of the public.[17] They pulled this person away to provide a clear shot, before firing twice.[18][15] Khan died at the scene.[19]

A Transport for London bus which had stopped adjacent to the site of the shooting was found to have damage to both its front and rear windows, possibly caused, according to the Metropolitan Police, by a ricocheting bullet.[20]

Victims[edit]

Three of the victims were associated with Cambridge University's Learning Together prison-rehabilitation programme; two died and one was injured.[21]

The two who died from their stab wounds[22] were Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones. Merritt was a 25-year-old law and criminology graduate[23] and University of Cambridge administration officer from Cottenham.[24] Jones, 23 years old, was a former University of Cambridge student from Stratford-upon-Avon.[25]

Merritt was a course coordinator for Learning Together.[26] His father said he "would not wish his death to be used as the pretext for more draconian sentences or for detaining people unnecessarily".[24] Jones was a volunteer at the Learning Together event.[25]

Two other women were seriously injured, while the chef who stopped the attacker was stabbed but had less serious injuries.[27]

Aftermath[edit]

The police, ambulance, and fire services attended the scene and a major incident was declared.[28][15] A large police cordon was set up in the area and residents were told to stay away.[28][29] Police closed both Monument Underground station[15] and London Bridge station after the attack.[28][30] The police reported that there had been no prior intelligence of the attack.[28]

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, returned to Downing Street following the incident, after campaigning in his constituency for the forthcoming general election. Johnson commended the "immense bravery" of the emergency services and members of the public,[28] and claimed that anyone involved in the attack would be "hunted down".[31] The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, thanked the emergency services and members of the public who helped to restrain the attacker, saying they had shown "breathtaking heroism".[28] The Conservative Party, Labour Party and Liberal Democrats temporarily suspended campaigning for the general election in London.[28][31] A parliamentary election hustings event scheduled to be held at Great St Mary's Church in Cambridge on 30 November was cancelled and replaced by a memorial vigil for the victims of the attack.[32]

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick made a statement following the attack describing events. She said there would be an increased police presence on the streets and that cordons in the London Bridge area would remain in place. An appeal was made for the public to submit any film or picture evidence or information that could assist the investigation.[33]

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility for the attack. Its news agency, Amaq, claimed Usman Khan was one of its fighters.[34][35] A janaza prayer for Khan was held at a mosque in Birmingham.[36]

Investigations[edit]

London Bridge was closed until the early hours of the following Monday for forensic investigation of the scene. Two properties, in Stafford, where Khan lived, and in Stoke-on-Trent, were searched by police.[37]

An inquest was opened on 4 December, at the Central Criminal Court in London, and was subsequently adjourned.[20][38] When it resumes, at a date to be determined, it is due be overseen by the chief coroner for England and Wales.[38] The Independent Office for Police Conduct is holding an investigation into the shooting.[20] In a separate investigation Staffordshire Police are also under IOPC scrutiny.[39]

Attacker[edit]

2012 police photo of Usman Khan

The attacker was identified as Usman Khan, a 28-year-old British national from Stoke-on-Trent of Pakistani descent.[40] Khan appears to have left school with no qualifications after spending part of his late teens in Pakistan.[41] He was known to police and had links to Islamist extremist groups.[42][43] In December 2018 he had been automatically released from prison on licence, where he was serving a 16-year sentence for terrorism offences, and was wearing an electronic tag.[44][45][46]

Khan had been part of a plot, inspired by Al-Qaeda, to establish a terrorist camp on his family's land in Kashmir and bomb the London Stock Exchange.[47] The plot was disrupted by MI5 and the police, as part of MI5's Operation Guava[48] (police Operation Norbury), and Khan was given an indeterminate sentence.[49][50] Of the nine men involved, Khan was the youngest at 19 and according to Mr Justice Wilkie, Khan and two others were “more serious jihadis” than the others.[51] In 2013, his sentence was revised after an appeal, and he was ordered to serve at least 8 years of his new 16-year sentence, with a 5-year extended licence allowing recall to prison.[52]

According to the anti-extremism group Hope not Hate, Khan was a supporter of Al-Muhajiroun, an extremist group with which scores of terrorists were involved.[53] He was a student and a personal friend of Anjem Choudary, an Islamist and terrorism supporter.[54] Khan had previously participated in the Learning Together programme.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jamie Grierson (10 December 2019). "Islamist extremism remains dominant UK terror threat, say experts". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  2. ^ "London Bridge attack: What is the Learning Together scheme?". BBC News. 1 December 2019. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  3. ^ a b Ludlow, Amy; Armstrong, Ruth (2 March 2016). "Learning Together – being, belonging, becoming". Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Learning Together". University of Cambridge. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  5. ^ "London Bridge attack: First victim named as pressure mounts on Johnson for investigation into release of convict taught by Anjem Choudary". The Independent. 1 December 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  6. ^ "Usman Khan attack at London Bridge: what we know so far". The Guardian. 30 November 2019. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  7. ^ "London Bridge attacker convicted of terror offence". BBC News. 29 November 2019. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  8. ^ David Brown; Richard Ford; Emma Yeomans; Paul Morgan-Bentley; Francis Elliott (30 November 2019). "Terrorist wearing a tag kills two on London Bridge". The Times.
  9. ^ a b "London Bridge attack: 'Amazing heroes' praised". BBC News. 30 November 2019. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  10. ^ Martin, Nik. "London Bridge attack: Poland honors narwhal tusk-wielding hero". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  11. ^ a b c Marsh, Sarah. "Narwhal tusk and fire extinguisher used to tackle London Bridge attacker". The Guardian.
  12. ^ a b "London Bridge: Latest updates as investigations continue after stabbing attack". BBC News. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  13. ^ "Tour firm manager Thomas Gray said he stamped on the terrorist’s wrist to try to make him release one of two large knives he was carrying." https://metro.co.uk/2019/11/30/named-pictured-london-bridge-attacker-convicted-terrorist-11244497/
  14. ^ "Other members of the public also joined the fray, including Thomas Gray (24), a Mini driver for a tour based on the film The Italian Job" https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/uk/bravery-teamwork-tragedy-how-london-bridge-attack-unfolded-1.4103008
  15. ^ a b c d Weaver, Matthew; Marsh, Sarah (29 November 2019). "London Bridge: suspect shot dead by police in incident 'treated as if terror-related' – live news". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  16. ^ "London Bridge: Video shows public confront London Bridge attacker". BBC News. 1 December 2019. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  17. ^ Coughlan, Sean (7 December 2019). "300 seconds on London Bridge". BBC. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  18. ^ "London Bridge attack filmed from all angles". Sky News. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  19. ^ "London Bridge: Attacker had been convicted of terror offence". BBC News. 30 November 2019.
  20. ^ a b c Coughlan, Sean (11 December 2019). "London Bridge shot might have passed through bus". BBC News.
  21. ^ Stephen Fidler; Paul Hannon (1 December 2019). "London Attack Reflects Problems in Tracking Convicted Terrorists". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
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  23. ^ "London Bridge attack victim had 'lust for life'". 30 November 2019. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  24. ^ a b Brown, Richard (30 November 2019). "First victim of London Bridge terror attack named as Cambridge University worker". cambridgenews.
  25. ^ a b "Second London Bridge victim named as Saskia Jones". BBC News. 1 December 2019.
  26. ^ "London Bridge attack victim named as Jack Merritt". BBC News. 30 November 2019. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  27. ^ "London Bridge attack: What we know so far". BBC. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g "Latest updates as shots fired on London Bridge". BBC News. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  29. ^ "London Bridge incident – live updates: Armed police 'shoot man dead' as area evacuated amid major security operation in capital". MSN. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  30. ^ "Man shot dead by police in London Bridge attack". BBC News. 29 November 2019. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  31. ^ a b "London Bridge terror attack: Boris Johnson vows to 'hunt down' anyone involved — latest news". Financial Times. 29 November 2019. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  32. ^ "Cambridge University staff member Jack Merritt among those killed in London Bridge Attack". University of Cambridge. 30 November 2019. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  33. ^ "Statement from the Commissioner following incident at London Bridge". MPS. 29 November 2019. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  34. ^ "Amid Heroism in London, Gnawing Fear of a Simmering Terrorism Threat". Stephen Castle. 30 November 2019. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  35. ^ "Islamic State claims responsibility for London Bridge knife attack, says Usman Khan was one of its fighters". South China Morning Post. 1 December 2019. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  36. ^ "London Bridge terrorist Usman Khan is buried in family village in Pakistan after UK backlash".
  37. ^ "London Bridge attack: Living next door to Usman Khan 'scary'". BBC News. 3 December 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  38. ^ a b Siddique, Haroon (4 December 2019). "London Bridge attack victims died after being stabbed in chest – inquest". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  39. ^ "Staffordshire Police to be investigated over handling of London Bridge attacker Usman Khan". Evening Standard. 12 December 2019. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  40. ^ "We don't understand how Usman Khan ended up like this". The Guardian. 30 November 2019.
  41. ^ "London attacker of Pakistani descent is terror convict: officials". Dawn. 1 December 2019.
  42. ^ Newsnight, BBC2, 29 November 2019
  43. ^ Davies, Gareth (29 November 2019). "London Bridge: Attacker who killed two was convicted terrorist who was wearing a tag". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  44. ^ "London Bridge attack: Did Boris Johnson vote against early prisoner release?". BBC News. 3 December 2018.
  45. ^ "LIVE: London Bridge knife attacker known to police and had links to terror groups". Sky News.
  46. ^ "Usman Khan profile: terrorist who wanted to bomb London Stock Exchange". Guardian staff. 30 November 2019. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  47. ^ "London Bridge killer Usman Khan was convicted terrorist recently freed from jail". Sky News.
  48. ^ Paul Hannon; Stephen Fidler (30 November 2019). "Attack by Convicted Terrorist Prompts U.K. to Review Sentencing". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  49. ^ "Stock Exchange plotters: Fantasists or a threat?". BBC News. 8 February 2012.
  50. ^ "Nine men jailed over terror plot". BBC News. 9 February 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  51. ^ "Sentencing Remarks of Mr Justice Wilkie" (PDF). Judiciary of England and Wales. 9 February 2012.
  52. ^ "Stoke terror sentences revised". BBC News. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  53. ^ "Gateway to Terror" (PDF). HOPE not hate. October 2018. p. 19. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  54. ^ "London Bridge attack: Usman Khan was student of, and personal friend of Anjem Choudary". The Daily Telegraph. November 2019. Retrieved 30 November 2019.