Family of London Bridge killer condemn his attack - and say they are 'shocked and saddened' by atrocity

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Usman Khan - REX
Usman Khan - REX

The family of London Bridge killer Usman Khan say they are "shocked and saddened" by the atrocity and "totally condemn" his actions.

In a short statement issued through the Metropolitan Police, his expressed their condolences to the two victims who died and those who were injured in the violence on Friday.

It read: "We are saddened and shocked by what Usman has done. We totally condemn his actions and we wish to express our condolences to the families of the victims that have died and wish a speedy recovery to all of the injured.

"We would like to request privacy for our family at this difficult time."

Convicted terrorist Khan stabbed to death Cambridge University graduates Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, as he attended a prisoner rehabilitation event the pair were supporting at Fishmongers’ Hall on London Bridge.

Khan, who was living in Stafford on licence after being released halfway through a 16 year terrorism sentence, was given permission to travel alone to London by police and the Probation Service after hoodwinking authorities that he was a reformed person.

Armed with two knives and wearing a fake suicide vest, he was tackled by members of the public, including ex-offenders from the conference, before he was shot dead by police.

One of the three people injured in the attack has been allowed to return home while the other two remain in a stable condition in hospital.

<span>Leanne O'Brien, centre, the girlfriend of Jack Merritt, is comforted by family members during a vigil </span> <span>Credit: Joe Giddens/PA </span>

<span>Leanne O'Brien, centre, the girlfriend of Jack Merritt, is comforted by family members during a vigil </span> <span>Credit: Joe Giddens/PA </span>

Leanne O'Brien, centre, the girlfriend of Jack Merritt, is comforted by family members during a vigil Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

The family’s statement came after, Leanne O’Brien, the girlfriend of Mr Merritt, posted a message on Facebook describing him as a "phenomenal" man.

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She wrote of her boyfriend: "My love, you are phenomenal and have opened so many doors for those that society turned their backs on."

On Monday, the family of Mr Merritt gathered to pay tribute to him and Miss Jones at a service in Cambridge, in which Ms O'Brien was seen breaking down in tears.

Later, David Merritt, his father, said his son would be "livid" if he could comment on his death because of the way his death has been politicised during the election campaign.

Boris Johnson has criticised Labour’s introduction of automatic early release where offenders are allowed out halfway through their sentences on licence in the community. He has pledged to replace it with longer sentences.

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Mr Merritt, from Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, was a co-ordinator for Learning Together, a programme associated with Cambridge University's Institute of Criminology which is aimed at bringing offenders and people in higher education to "study alongside each other".

Miss Jones, a volunteer on the programme from Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, was described as having "great passion" for providing support to victims of crime by her family.

In a statement they said: "She was intent on living life to the full and had a wonderful thirst for knowledge, enabling her to be the best she could be."

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