Johnson pressured on jail terms after London Bridge attack
The London Bridge attack pushed law and order towards the top of the British political agenda on Saturday, with days to go before a snap election, after police said the assailant had previously been convicted of terrorism offences but freed early from prison.
Boris Johnson was personally warned about risks of freeing terrorists but said there was ‘no money’ to deradicalise them, ex-top prosecutor says
Damaging claim comes as solicitor for London Bridge attacker says he asked for help to turn away from terrorism – but was not given any
A former top prosecutor says he personally warned Boris Johnson about the risk posed by freeing terrorists who had not been deradicalised, but was told there was “no money”.
The hugely damaging claim came as the solicitor for the London Bridge attacker revealed he had asked for help to turn away from terrorism while in prison, but was not given any.
As anger grew over the early release of Usman Khan, Jeremy Corbyn branded the attack he was able to carry out “a complete disaster”, saying: “There has got to be a very full investigation.”
THERE’S GOT TO BE A VERY FULL INVESTIGATION
Jeremy Corbyn, criticised the government’s sentencing policies.
“I think there is also a question about what the probation service were doing … and whether the parole board should have been involved in deciding whether or not he should have been allowed to be released from prison in the first place,” he said.
Earlier, Johnson said the attack was a terrorist act and vowed to end a practice whereby serious offenders can be automatically let out of prison early.
“I have long said that this system simply isn’t working,” he said after visiting the scene of the attack on Saturday.
Those convicted of a serious terrorism offence should face a mandatory minimum sentence of 14 years, he said later.
Usman Khan, wearing a fake suicide vest and wielding knives, went on the rampage at a conference on criminal rehabilitation beside London Bridge on Friday, killing two people. The 28-year old Briton was wrestled to the ground by bystanders then shot dead by police.
Police said on Saturday that Khan had been convicted in 2012 for his part in an al Qaeda-inspired plot to blow up the London Stock Exchange. He was released in December 2018 subject to conditions.
In 2008 he was interviewed and filmed speaking to the BBC at the time the man who carried out Friday’s London Bridge attack denied being a terrorist.
Usman Khan was speaking after his address was raided by anti-terror police in 2008. He later admitted being involved in a terrorist conspiracy.
In 2012 he was sentenced to indeterminate detention for “public protection” with a minimum jail term of eight years.
But in 2013 the Court of Appeal quashed the sentence, replacing it with a 16-year-fixed term of which Khan should serve half in prison.
He was released in December 2018.
London Bridge attacker in 2008: ‘I ain’t no terrorist’
Islamic State said the attack was carried out by one of its fighters and was in response to its calls to target countries that had been part of a coalition fighting the jihadist group, according to its Amaq news agency. The group did not provide any evidence for its assertion.
Tragically a man and a woman were killed in the attack, with local media naming one of the victims as Jack Merritt, a course coordinator for Learning Together, a prisoners’ rehabilitation program which held the conference at Fishmongers’ Hall.
Three people remain in hospital with two victims in a stable condition while a third person is suffering from less serious injuries, according to the National Health Service.
Police said they were continuing their investigation by searching two addresses in the Staffordshire and Stoke areas of central England, with the country’s top counter-terrorism officer saying they were not looking for any other suspects.
Khan was a guest at “Learning Together”, a Cambridge University event that pairs students and inmates, when he launched the sickening attack.
The attacker is understood to have been wearing an electronic tag when he staged the attack after being released from prison for terrorism related offences.
He was known to the authorities at MI5 and police because of his previous conviction, sources confirm.
The suspect, who police say was wearing a fake suicide vest, was killed after emergency services were called to a stabbing incident at premises near the bridge shortly before 2pm on Friday.
The incident played out in extraordinary scenes that prompted praise for the bravery of members of the public and police. In footage captured by bystanders, civilians are seen wrestling with a person lying on the ground at the northern end of the bridge, before being pulled to safety by armed police arriving at the scene.
A press report realised stated that the attacker was a guest at a Cambridge University conference on prisoner rehabilitation at Fishmongers’ Hall – where the attack began – and later threatened to blow up the venue.