‘A beautiful, talented boy’ - family pay tribute to Jack Merritt, 25, after his death in London Bridge terror attack
The family of Jack Merritt have described him as a “beautiful, talented boy” after he was killed in the London Bridge terror attack.
Jack, 25, from Cottenham, was a co-ordinator for Learning Together, the prison rehabilitation and education programme run by the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology.
It was at Learning Together’s five-year anniversary conference at Fishmongers’ Hall, on the north side of London Bridge, that convicted terrorist Usman Khan - a guest at the event - stabbed Jack to death, along with University of Cambridge graduate Saskia Jones, 23, from Stratford-upon-Avon.
Khan, who injured three others, was shot dead by police on London Bridge.
Jack attended Hills Road Sixth Form, before reading law at the University of Manchester and then completing an MPhil at the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge, while attached to Hughes Hall, in 2017.
His family said: “Jack Merritt, our beautiful, talented boy, died doing what he loved, surrounded by people he loved and who loved him.
“He lit up our lives and the lives of his many friends and colleagues, and we will miss him terribly.
“Jack lived his principles; he believed in redemption and rehabilitation, not revenge, and he always took the side of the underdog.
“Jack was an intelligent, thoughtful and empathetic person who was looking forward to building a future with his girlfriend, Leanne, and making a career helping people in the criminal justice system.
“We know Jack would not want this terrible, isolated incident to be used as a pretext by the government for introducing even more draconian sentences on prisoners, or for detaining people in prison for longer than necessary.
“Our thoughts go out to the relatives and friends of his friend and colleague who died with him in this incident, to the colleagues who were injured, and to his brilliant, supportive colleagues at the University of Cambridge department of criminology.
“We respectfully request that the media leave us to grieve in private at this very difficult time.”
Jack's friend Hollie posted a heartfelt tribute on social media, calling him a “completely brilliant boy” who “championed the underdog”.
She asked: “Why would the world take such a wonderful person from us?”
Saskia Jones’s family have also issued a tribute, describing her as “a funny, kind, positive influence at the centre of many people’s lives”.
A minute’s silence was held in memory of Jack and Saskia outside the Guildhall in Cambridge on Monday (December 2).
Khan was allowed out on licence last year after serving half of a 16-year sentence for his role in a plot to blow up the London Stock Exchange and US Embassy and target individuals including then London Mayor Boris Johnson. The 28-year-old, who was living in Staffordshire, had taken part in a Learning Together programme while in HMP Whitemoor, near March in Cambridgeshire.