Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
Convicted murderer who helped stop Fishmongers' Hall attack set to be let out of prison
6 July 2021, 19:23 | Updated: 6 July 2021, 19:40
The convicted murderer who tackled the Fishmongers' Hall attacker to the ground while using a narwhal tusk has been directed for release by the Parole Board.
Inmate Steven Gallant was on day release when he intervened as Usman Khan launched his attack and killed two Cambridge graduates in November 2019.
Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, were killed and Khan injured three others before running to London Bridge carrying two knives and a fake suicide belt.
Three men detained him on the bridge before police shot him dead.
The attack came during an event for reformed prisoners, which Gallant was attending.
The time he had to wait for a parole hearing was previously reduced by 10 months in recognition of his actions, following the use of a "Royal Prerogative of Mercy".
In evidence at the inquest into the deaths of Mr Merritt and Ms Jones, held earlier this year, Mr Gallant said he "whacked" Khan with a narwhal tusk but was empty-handed by the time of the encounter on the bridge.
He said he gave Khan "a couple of uppercuts to the face", which helped "stun him a little bit".
'Usman Khan should not have been on that course': Jack Merritt's dad
Gallant was jailed for life, with a minimum term of 17 years, in 2005 for the murder of a firefighter in Hull.
A summary of the Parole Board's decision said the panel recognised his actions during the 2019 attack but "was clear that it was not a reason to direct his release".
Professional witnesses recommended Gallant be released on licence and said he had "worked hard to understand and address his risk factors and to bring about a change to his life".
The board said: "After considering the circumstances of his index offending, his pattern of previous offending, the progress made while in custody, the details of the release plan and all the evidence presented at the hearing, the panel was satisfied that Mr Gallant was suitable for release."
His licence would mean he is subject to a curfew, must stay at a designated address and comply with an exclusion zone to avoid contact with his victim's family.
A spokesperson for the Parole Board said the decision to direct Gallant for release is provisional for 21 days.
They added added: "Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our number one priority."