London Bridge terrorist Usman Khan was lawfully killed by police, inquest finds

10 June 2021, 16:18 | Updated: 10 June 2021, 17:20

Jurors have said officers lawfully killed Usman Khan during the 2019 London Bridge attack
Jurors have said officers lawfully killed Usman Khan during the 2019 London Bridge attack. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

London Bridge terrorist Usman Khan was lawfully killed by police, jurors at an inquest have found.

The 28-year-old homegrown terrorist was fatally shot by armed police, moments after he carried out a bloody massacre at a prisoner education alumni event he was invited to in central London on November 29 2019.

Khan strapped kitchen knives to his hands and attacked Cambridge graduates Saskia Jones, 23, and Jack Merritt, 25, and injured three others, before being chased from Fishmongers' Hall by three men armed with a fire extinguisher and a narwhal tusk to subdue him.

Police fired again as his limbs twitched, having been cleared to carry out a "critical shot", a near-instantly fatal wound, because of a suspected suicide vest around his waist.

Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, were the victims of Khan's terror attack
Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, were the victims of Khan's terror attack. Picture: PA

Khan was pronounced dead an hour later after the scene was declared safe.

Earlier on that day, Khan had travelled from his Stafford home to London by train, wearing the hoax suicide bomb under his coat.

He stabbed Mr Merritt and Ms Jones before being pursued from the venue.

A tactical firearms commander known only as WA30 told jurors in the two-week inquest: "I thought he was going to detonate that device.

Members of the public intervened to try and subdue Khan
Members of the public intervened to try and subdue Khan. Picture: PA

"I was just in a cold sweat, I could hear my own heartbeat, I was sweating profusely, my mouth went so dry."

During the incident, armed officers from the Met and the City of London Police stood within the 100m blast zone – had the device been real – said they feared they would be killed when Khan sat up.

He spent several minutes breathing deeply, lying prone on his back after the first two shots. He appeared to reach for something nearby.

An officer called AZ99 said: "At that point there, I thought: We're dead."

Officers opened on Khan again, firing nine of the 20 shots aimed at the terrorist that afternoon.

WA30 said: "It was like watching a slow motion car crash.

Kitchen knives bought by Khan in the days leading up to the Fishmongers' Hall terror attack
Kitchen knives bought by Khan in the days leading up to the Fishmongers' Hall terror attack. Picture: PA

"I was squinting at the monitor thinking he would detonate that at any moment, thinking he would kill my officers, the public as well."

He added: "I was flabbergasted that the man had been shot numerous times and it took a while for him to cease moving.”

"Eventually - very slowly, nothing like you see in the movies - he ceased moving."

The footage is so graphic it was not released to the press and is unlikely to be seen in public again.

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