Professor’s praise for graduate Saskia Jones: ‘There’s never been a student like her’
An Anglia Ruskin University professor has paid tribute to her former student Saskia Jones, who was killed in the London Bridge terror attack, saying “there has never been one like her” and that she was “remarkable”.
Colleen Moore, deputy head of humanities and social sciences at ARU, told the Cambridge Independent that in spite of problems she had overcome in her life “she realised that during the struggles she’d had to contend with people had to look out for each other”.
Prof Moore said: “She wanted to pass that on to people she thought maybe needed someone to have their back, and someone to give them the words that most people don’t. She was so young to be so wise. I think lots of people think things but don’t say them out loud, but she did. She would always say something encouraging, something that would give them a feeling that she was there for them. She had empathy with everyone.
“I spent some time with some of her friends yesterday and that’s all they said. They said she would be having to deal with her own issues, her studies, her work – she had a job and she liked working out so she was always busy – but she took the time to spend time with them and in every single story they told me, they said she was the one who was comforting but also useful. She gave friendship advice and everyone agreed she was always right.”
Ms Moore’s comments came after vigils were held in in Cambridge and London to remember Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt, after they were fatally stabbed by convicted terrorist Usman Khan in an attack at Fishmongers’ Hall by London Bridge on Friday.
Prior to completing her MPhil at the University of Cambridge, Saskia had been her student at Anglia Ruskin University, gaining a perfect 100 per cent score for her dissertation, which can only be achieved if the work is “flawless”.
Ms Moore said: “It’s not very often that a student like Saskia comes along. There has never been one like her.
“We do have remarkable students and also one of the reasons she came here was because she knew she had a lot she wanted to achieve. But what often happens at Anglia Ruskin is we get a lot of students who don’t do so well in their GCSEs or A-levels but they really want to go to university.
“A lot of them are the first people to go to university in their family. She Saskia isn’t one of them. She wanted to make a difference and for various reasons her A-level results were not what she wanted them to be. She came here thinking, ‘Right, I’m going to university and I’m going to work hard’.
“She knew what the power of education was. She used it in ways I have never really seen before. She knew she had something to do.”
Ms Moore added: “When I first heard the reports about the attack, I didn’t realise Saskia was there until she was announced as the second victim. I had been so worried about my friend Loraine Gelsthorpe, who had been my boss for two years, as I knew she was at the Institute of Criminology.
“I’d gone to the pub to meet some friends and talk about our shock and I was thinking I would probably know some of the people there. I said I can’t imagine how Loraine must be feeling.
“And then suddenly my colleague messaged me to say it was our Saskia and then I don’t really know what happened after that. It’s all been a blur.”
Over the past few days, Ms Moore has been thinking about how the university could commemorate Saskia.
She said: “I have got a big idea. I haven’t run it by my vice-chancellor yet, but I do think it’s a good idea. So yes, we will be doing something.”
But she added that even before this incident, Saskia was well known by students who followed in her wake.
“All of our current students know Saskia and her amazing dissertation – 100 per cent Saskia – everybody,” said Prof Moore.
“It’s so tragic because of the circumstances but there’s even more to say about Saskia now. She is with us forever.”