London Bridge attacker Usman Khan was convicted terrorist attending University of Cambridge conference on prison rehabilitation
The attacker shot dead by police on London Bridge was a convicted terrorist out on licence called Usman Khan, who had been a guest at a University of Cambridge event on prison rehabilitation in Fishmongers’ Hall.
The Met Police have confirmed that he was convicted in 2012 for terrorism offence and had been living in Staffordshire.
He was released on licence from prison in December 2018.
He struck at Fishmongers’ Hall, on the north side of London Bridge, where Learning Together - an education initiative from the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology - was holding an alumni conference.
Two people - one man and one woman - were killed in the stabbing attack. Three more were injured - two women and one man. One of these is described as critical but stable, a second is stable and a third has less serious injuries.
Police shot Khan dead within minutes after members of the public bravely confronted and grappled with him outside as he ran along London Bridge.
The University of Cambridge has said it is “gravely concerned” for staff, students and alumni caught up in the attack.
Vice chancellor Prof Stephen Toope said he was “devastated”.
Khan pleaded guilty to involvement in the 2010 Stock Exchange Plot, a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange, Houses of Parliament and US Embassy, and attack other targets, including then London mayor Boris Johnson.
Khan and Nazam Hussain, 26, were given indeterminate sentences for public protection and sentenced to at least eight years behind bars, while Mohammed Shahjahan 27, was jailed for a minimum of eight years and 10 months.
Identifying the trio as “the more serious jihadists” among the plotters, the judge said they should not be released until they were no longer a threat to the public.
But the three appealed and on April 16, 2013, the Court of Appeal quashed Khan and Hussain’s indeterminate sentences and imposed determinate custodial sentences instead. Khan and Hussain were sentenced to 16 years, while Shahjahan was sentenced to 17 years and eight months.
The Met Police’s assistant commissioner Neil Basu said: “The investigation into the attack near London Bridge continues at a pace.
“Whilst we are still in the early stages of the investigation, at this time we are not actively seeking anyone else in relation to the attack.
“However, we continue to make fast time enquiries to ensure that no other people were involved in this attack and that there is no outstanding threat to the public.
“As I stated earlier, police were called at 1.58pm to a stabbing at premises near to London Bridge, EC1. Emergency services attended, including officers from the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police.
“A male suspect was shot by specialist armed officers and I can confirm that he died at the scene.
“We are now in a position to confirm the identity of the suspect as 28-year-old Usman Khan (10.03.1991), who had been residing in the Staffordshire area. As a result, officers are, tonight, carrying out searches at an address in Staffordshire.
“This individual was known to authorities, having been convicted in 2012 for terrorism offences. He was released from prison in December 2018 on licence and clearly, a key line of inquiry now is to establish how he came to carry out this attack.
“Tragically, two people – a man and a woman – were killed during the attack. Three others – a man and two women – were also injured and remain in hospital.
“The circumstances, as we currently understand them, are that the attacker attended an event earlier on Friday afternoon at Fishmongers’ Hall called ‘Learning Together’. We believe that the attack began inside before he left the building and proceeded onto London Bridge, where he was detained and subsequently confronted and shot by armed officers.”
The event at Fishmongers’ Hall had been billed as ‘a day to celebrate, connect and collaborate’. It was intended to celebrate the work of the project in bringing together people in criminal justice and higher education institutions.
Former prisoners were among those attending the alumni conference, alongside students, academics and representatives of the criminal justice system.
Learning Together began in January 2015 by bringing together Cambridge graduate criminology students and students at HMP Grendon to learn criminology together over an eight-week programme.
It has extended since within the University of Cambridge to include several other subjects across Grendon, Warren Hill and Whitemoor prisons.
It has also spread to other universities and criminal justice organisations, and internationally.
Assistant Commissioner Basu added: “Extensive cordons are likely to remain in place for some time and I would ask the public to continue to avoid the area.
“Public safety is our top priority and we are enhancing police patrols in the city and across London.
“I would ask anyone with information, images or footage of the incident that this be shared with the investigation team on the UK Police Image appeal website - https://ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk/.
“I would also appeal to anyone who may have information that could assist the investigation to call police, in confidence on 0800 789 321.
“The public should continue to remain vigilant and report any concerns they have to police. If you see something that doesn’t seem right, trust your instincts and ACT by reporting to police, in confidence, at www.gov.uk/ACT.
“In an emergency always dial 999.”
In a statement released on Friday, the University of Cambridge said: “We are gravely concerned at reports that University of Cambridge staff, students and alumni were caught up in the incident at London Bridge.
“We are urgently seeking clarification and further details. Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by these terrible events.”
More by this authorPaul Brackley