Terrorist Usman Khan, 28, killed Saskia Jones, 23, and Jack Merritt, 25, near London Bridge on November 29 last year
The Prevent team dealing with the Fishmongers’ Hall attacker had “ no specific training ” on dealing with convicted terrorists, a court said.
Terrorist Usman Khan, 28, killed Cambridge University graduates Saskia Jones, 23, and Jack Merritt, 25, during a prisoner rehab event near London Bridge on November 29 of the ‘last year.
Khan, who was armed with two knives and wearing a fake suicide vest, was approached by members of the public with a narwhal tusk, decorative pike and fire extinguisher.
The attacker, who lived alone in Stafford, was later shot dead by police on London Bridge.
At a pre-inquiry hearing today, lawyer for Mr Merritt’s family, Nick Armstrong, suggested there was already evidence of a ‘systemic problem’ because ‘ ‘all Staffordshire Prevent officers’ said they had ‘no specific training in dealing with terrorist offenders’.
He told the court that the surveillance of Khan had been ‘handed over by the West Midlands Counterterrorism Unit to the Staffordshire Unit for reasons which remain to be explored and all say they have no specific training ”.
Henry Pitchers QC, for Ms Jones’ family, pointed out that Khan was assessed as the ‘highest level of risk’ and had 22 license conditions upon his release.
A bystander of the terrorist attack tries to fight Usman Khan with a narwhal tusk on London Bridge, Khan was later shot dead by police on the bridge
Mr Pitchers told the court: ‘We know he was a convicted terrorist, he had been out of prison for less than a year when this attack happened.
‘We know and it will not be disputed that he was under surveillance and that he was also supervised by the probation services and the relatively frequent contact they had with him.
‘As I understand it, he was examined before his release by the police, released and assessed as presenting the highest level of risk.
“ Looking at the evidence we saw, his last unannounced police visit was … About two weeks before the attack.
‘They arrived at noon, found the apartment dark, you see Mr Khan was not happy that they were taking pictures of his X-box games and he asked to speak to a lawyer. He asked them to leave, which they did.
Mr Pitchers questioned whether the Prevent or probation team ‘should have had any idea’ of the immediate danger Khan posed – he was convicted of being part of an al-Qaeda-inspired cell plotting to blow up the London Stock Exchange and kill Boris Johnson. in 2012.
Saskia Jones, 23, died in London Bridge terror attack after convicted terrorist Usman Khan stabbed him to death
The lawyer continued, “ We know he was living alone, not working and no mentoring was provided as the mentoring ceased in August 2019.
“It was not a reassuring profile. His participation in this event was expressly authorized. It wasn’t somehow a slippage between the terms of his terms – he was given express permission to attend.
Addressing the possibility that PREVENT – the government’s counterterrorism program aimed at deradicalization – failed, Jonathan Hough QC, lawyer at the investigation, added in written submissions: “ It is said that Khan’s leadership after his release from prison did not involve reasonable steps to prevent such an attack and that he should have been escorted to the event or risk that he presented better monitored in advance.
“Systems and procedures existed to monitor it, and it will be for further investigation if any potential faults in the systems can be identified.
‘It can be argued that the PREVENT Staffordshire Police team tasked with managing Khan under Part 4 of the Counterterrorism Act 2008 failed in their substantive duties because their statements raised criticism potential of force proceedings.
Jack Merritt, 25, died in the terrorist attack during a prisoner rehab event near London Bridge on November 29 last year
Mr Pitchers, on behalf of Ms Jones ‘family, then questioned the safety around the Learning Together event at Fishmongers’ Hall.
“ We know from the evidence that his participation in this event was expressly permitted. It wasn’t slippery between the conditions.
He said those who gave permission had done nothing to notify Scotland Yard, City of London Police, the Fishmongers’ Company or the organizers of the Learning Together event.
Mr Pitchers added: ‘There was no security check at the gate, not even a rudimentary baggage check. ”
A full investigation, which is set to begin at Old Bailey on April 12 next year, will examine how the tragedy came about and whether it could have been stopped, another preliminary hearing will likely take place in January.
During the hearing, lawyers for the victims’ family also resisted any attempt to have their inquiries heard along with Khan’s.
Those close to Ms Jones have argued they would find it ‘unnecessary and painful’ to sit down on the details of Khan’s shooting and have sought to have them heard in another investigation.
Jonathan Hough QC, lawyer at the inquest, said in written submissions to the court: ‘These wishes of the bereaved families are understandable and reflect similar wishes of the families of the victims in the inquiries into the London bombings, the inquiries into the Westminster Bridge and the London Bridge Surveys. .
“ The victim’s investigations will address different issues than those raised by the attacker investigation. In the most general terms, the former will focus on how the attack in the room happened and whether any opportunities were missed to prevent it or take better protective measures.
“The latter will focus on how Usman Khan was shot.”
The separate inquiries will be heard consecutively and are expected to span an aggregate period of six to seven weeks.
Officers and forces who had contact with Khan before the fatal attack will be spared the criminal investigation, the police watchdog said.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct has been investigating the conduct of the Staffordshire Police PREVENT team since it received a referral last December.
They are also investigating officers who witnessed his shooting – as is common practice after such incidents.