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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Fishmongers' Hall: Saskia Jones was unsure about going to event

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Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt

image copyrightMet Police

A woman stabbed to death by a convicted terrorist at a prisoner education celebration was initially in two minds about attending, her mother has said.

Saskia Jones, 23, was one of two people killed by Usman Khan at the Learning Together event in November 2019.

In a statement read to the jury, Michelle Jones said her daughter’s “uncertainty” about attending lingered until the night before the event.

“Eventually, she decided she should go,” Ms Jones said.

“Saskia was not aware of who would be attending the event.

“I asked Saskia the evening before and she still did not know, save for a few staff.”

Ms Jones told jurors at Guildhall she also had “several conversations” with her daughter regarding her thoughts on the treatment of ex-offenders.

“She (Saskia) believed there should be a distinction between terrorists and other ex-offenders,” Ms Jones added.

“Her view of terror offenders was, although they should be given possibility to change, they should be more closely monitored.”

Usman Khan in TK Maxx

image copyrightMet Police

The inquest previously heard Khan was released as a high-risk category A offender in December 2018, having spent eight years in jail for plotting a jihadi terror camp in his parents’ homeland of Pakistan.

There was also intelligence that Khan was considered to be an extremist gang leader while in prison, and had been “grooming” other inmates to assist with offending upon his release.

Khan, 28, from Stafford, was enrolled on Learning Together programmes while in custody, including a creative writing class.

Usman Khan

image copyrightMetropolitan Police

He was invited to attend the Fishmongers’ Hall event as he was perceived as a “success story”.

It was during a break at the function that Khan went into a toilet cubicle, strapped two kitchen knives to his hands, and began stabbing delegates, including Ms Jones and Jack Merritt, 25.

The pair both died from their injuries, while three others were injured in the attack.

Three people then chased Khan, who was wearing a fake suicide belt, from the building armed with a fire extinguisher and a narwhal tusk.

Khan was then shot dead by police on nearby London Bridge.

The inquests continue.

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