London Bridge victim Jack Merritt was first to confront Usman Khan, witness ...

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A London Bridge attack witness has praised Jack Merritt for being the first to confront terrorist Usman Khan when he launched his deadly knife assault.

Professor Bryonn Bain, of UCLA, said he wanted to honour Mr Merritt, 25, for standing up to Khan at the doors of Fishmonger's Hall on Friday. 

'He was brave,' Prof. Bain told the BBC, 'He was the first line of defence, he was the first person to confront him at the door. So I want to honour him.

'I want to honour his father's wishes which have been explicit to not have his life be used for political purposes to ramp up draconian policies, because that's not what he was about.'

'He was brave,' Prof. Bain told the BBC , 'He was the first line of defence, he was the first person to confront him at the door. So I want to honour him'

'He was brave,' Prof. Bain told the BBC , 'He was the first line of defence, he was the first person to confront him at the door. So I want to honour him'

Mr Merritt's father David last night furiously condemned those who would use his son's death 'to promote vile propaganda.'

Prof Bain, who was giving a workshop on prisoner rehabilitation at Fishmonger's Hall, described how he had first heard shouting from downstairs.

He initially believed it to be a dispute which would be resolved but the shouting only grew louder and so her dashed downstairs.

'I was able to see the attacker, I was able to see, you know, I saw people die.' Prof Bain told the BBC. 'You know I saw things that I'm never going to be able to unsee and I want to make sure that as much as possible that we uphold the heroes of the day.

'They were formerly incarcerated people, some of the folks who are often easiest to dehumanise. They stepped up and many of the folks in that space would not be here today if it weren't for these guys who did time in prison and literally saved lives.' 

Mr Merritt and fellow Cambridge graduate Saskia Jones, 23, were both stabbed by Khan during a prisoner rehabilitation event they were working at on Friday.

Today, Mr Merritt's girlfriend Leanne O'Brien cried and held a cuddly toy as she was supported by family and friends at an event in Cambridge to remember her boyfriend and his colleague Miss Jones.

Miss O'Brien was at the front of a crowd of mourners this morning along with Mr Merritt's mother Anne, who held her hand, Mr Merritt's father David, and Miss O'Brien's mother Mac and father Jeff.

Saskia Jones

Jack Merritt

Former University of Cambridge students Saskia Jones, 23, (left) and Mr Merritt, 25, (right) were fatally stabbed during a prisoner rehabilitation event on Friday

Leanne O'Brien (front centre), the girlfriend of Jack Merritt, weeps and holds a cuddly toy during a vigil in Cambridge today. Pictured (front row, from left): Mr Merritt's mother Anne, Miss O'Brien's mother Mac, Miss O'Brien, Mr Merritt's father David and Miss O'Brien's father Jeff

Leanne O'Brien (front centre), the girlfriend of Jack Merritt, weeps and holds a cuddly toy during a vigil in Cambridge today. Pictured (front row, from left): Mr Merritt's mother Anne, Miss O'Brien's mother Mac, Miss O'Brien, Mr Merritt's father David and Miss O'Brien's father Jeff

The Cambridge vigil took place as Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn stood side-by-side to pay their respects at a separate event at Guildhall Yard in London, observing a minute's silence alongside members of the public.

It came as MPs became further embroiled in an intensifying political row over which party was to blame for the early release of the attacker, who was allowed out halfway through a 16-year jail term for terrorism.

Mr Johnson has been criticised by Mr Merritt's father for 'politicising' the attack and promising tougher sentencing rules to prevent the early release of terrorists. 

Khan, 28, of Stoke, was on licence and wearing an electronic monitoring tag when he launched the attack, which injured three others, after he was invited to the prisoner rehabilitation conference on Friday afternoon

Khan, 28, of Stoke, was on licence and wearing an electronic monitoring tag when he launched the attack, which injured three others, after he was invited to the prisoner rehabilitation conference on Friday afternoon

But the Prime Minister today denied exploiting the terror attack for political purposes, saying: 'Of course I feel as everybody does huge amount of sympathy for the loss of Jack Merritt's family and all the relatives of Jack and Saskia, but be in no doubt I have campaigned against early release and short sentences for many years. It was in my manifesto in 2012... We have too many people released automatically on our streets.' 

In London today, Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn were joined by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who called for people to come together after the killings and work for a future 'not defined by hatred but defined by hope, unity and love'.

After a minute's silence at 11am, he said: 'We come together this morning as Londoners to remember, to honour and to mourn the innocent lives lost as a result of this horrific terrorist attack on Friday.' 

He added: 'The best way to defeat this hatred is not by turning on one another but by focusing on the values that bind us.'

Khan, 28, of Stoke, was on licence and wearing an electronic monitoring tag when he launched the attack, which injured three others, after he was invited to the prisoner rehabilitation conference on Friday afternoon.

The event was organised held by Learning Together, a programme associated with Cambridge University's Institute of Criminology.

Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn take part in the vigil in London today to honour the victims of the London Bridge terror attack

Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn take part in the vigil in London today to honour the victims of the London Bridge terror attack

The attack has prompted the Ministry of Justice to review the licence conditions of every convicted terrorist released from prison, which the Prime Minister said was 'probably about 74' people.

Mr Johnson has vowed to take steps to ensure people are not released early when they commit serious offences.

But the family of Mr Merritt, from Cottenham,

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