Cambridge graduates Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones died after single stab wounds to chest, inquest hears
Cambridge graduates Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones died after single stab wounds to the chest in the London Bridge terror attack, an inquest heard.
Jack, 25, from Cottenham, and Saskia, 23, from Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, were fatally wounded by convicted terrorist Usman Khan last Friday (November 29) at Fishmongers’ Hall.
They were all attending a conference for Learning Together, the prison education and rehabilitation programme run by the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology. Jack was course co-ordinator, Saskia was a volunteer and Khan, who was out of prison on licence, had received special permission to travel to London for the day to take part in workshops.
Inquests into their deaths were opened at the Old Bailey yesterday (December 4) by City of London senior coroner Alison Hewitt.
Desmond Hugh, a detective superintendent at the Met Police, told the inquest that officers were called at 1.58pm to reports of a man attacking delegates.
“Upon arrival a male had left the building and was being restrained on London Bridge by several members of the public. He was subsequently shot by police,” he said.
The inquest heard that Mr Merritt was stabbed just before 2pm. He was taken on a stretcher out of the building by police officers to King William Street as the building was evacuated and it was not clear if the public was still in danger.
Paramedics battled to save Jack, but he was pronounced dead at 3.14pm.
A post mortem recorded the cause of death as shock and haemorrhaging,and a stab wound to the chest.”
Saskia also died from a single stab wound to the chest. She was pronounced dead at 2.25pm inside the hall.
The inquest heard that Khan, 28, was a UK national living in the Stafford area. He was convicted on October 7, 2011 of an offence contrary to Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 - engaging in conduct in preparation for terrorist acts. This followed a plot of 2010, in which Khan and his fellow conspirators planned to blow up the London Stock Exchange, the US Embassy in London and attack other targets.
Having spent time at HMP Whitemoor near March in Cambridgeshire, he was moved to Woodhill Prison, then released on December 24, 2018.
The inquest heard he took part in a Learning Together programme towards the end of his prison sentence.
Khan, who was subject to a counter terrorism notification order on release, was pronounced dead at 3.07pm.
His cause of death was shock and haemorrhage, and multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen.
Jack, who attended Cottenham Village College and Hills Road Sixth Form in Cambridge, completed a law degree at the University of Manchester before graduating from the University of Cambridge with a masters degree in criminology in 2017.
Saskia studied at Anglia Ruskin University, before graduating with a masters in criminology from the University of Cambridge in 2018.
Described as “passionate about victim support”, she had applied to join a graduate recruitment programme at West Midlands Police.
The inquest heard she had planned to use this role at the police to progress her PhD at Oxford University.
The inquest was adjourned to a date to be determined. It is due to be heard by the chief coroner, Judge Mark Lucraft QC.