The family of one of the victims of the Fishmongers’ Hall terror attack has demanded the organisers of the prison rehabilitation scheme stand down.
The uncles of Saskia Jones, who was fatally stabbed by Usman Khan in November 2019, said they would be “insulted” if the leaders of the Cambridge University Learning Together programme remained in their roles.
Khan carried out the attack in Central London just 11 months after spending eight years in high-security prisons over his role in plotting to set up terrorist camps.
He had been a guest at the prisoner education event held by Learning Together and had chatted with Ms Jones just two hours before he embarked on his rampage, killing the 23-year-old and fellow Cambridge graduate Jack Merritt, 25.
Miss Jones had not been told by organisers about Khan’s background before she sat down to talk with him.
Armed officers from the Metropolitan and City of London police forces gunned down Khan on London Bridge after members of the public had chased him from Fishmonger’s Hall, including one wielding a narwhal tusk.
Organisation got it ‘badly and tragically wrong’
Last month, the jury in the Fishmongers’ Hall inquest concluded that the agencies responsible for managing him had been “blinded” by Khan’s “poster boy image”.
In the family’s first interview since the attack, Miss Jones’s uncles, Pete and Phil Jones, said they felt compelled to speak out after hearing evidence at the inquest.
During the hearing, the two programme leaders, Dr Ruth Armstrong and Dr Amy Ludlow, were asked if they would now rule out working with terrorist offenders in the future.
Dr Ludlow said they couldn’t rule it out because there was “no research evidence” to support excluding an entire category of prisoner.
Phil Jones said he believes the answer revealed the organisation’s arrogance, commenting: “The main evidence we have now is that it wasn’t a wise idea.
“They shouldn’t be leading an organisation that got something badly and tragically wrong.”
Pete, his brother, said the two Cambridge academics, who founded the education programme, had “lost sight of their duty to protect their staff, volunteers and the public”.
He was “astounded” they failed to consider how they might have done things differently, he added.
The knowledge that Miss Jones, from Stratford-upon-Avon, would have been friendly to Khan in the moments before her death was “difficult to take”, he said.