University of Cambridge vice-chancellor Professor Stephen Toope ‘devastated’ by London Bridge terror attack
The University of Cambridge’s vice chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, has said he is devastated that the London Bridge terror attack may have been targeted at staff, students and alumni.
One man and one woman were killed and three people - two women and one man - were injured in the stabbing attack by Usman Khan, 28, a former prisoner released on licence last year who had been convicted of terrorism offences in 2012.
Khan, who was living in Staffordshire, had been a guest at a five-year anniversary celebration event at Fishmongers’ Hall for Learning Together, an education initiative from the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology that brings together higher education and criminal justice organisations.
Academics, students, former prisoners and criminal justice system representatives were present at the hall, which lies on the north side of London Bridge.
Khan’s attack began inside the hall just before 2pm on Friday. He was tackled outside on London Bridge by brave members of the public, before armed police arrived and shot him dead.
Prof Toope said: “I am devastated to learn that today’s hateful attack on London Bridge may have been targeted at staff, students and alumni attending an event organised by the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology.
“We are in touch with the Metropolitan Police, and awaiting further details of the victims.
“We mourn the dead and we hope for a speedy recovery for the injured. Our thoughts are with all their families and friends.”
The university earlier said it was “gravely concerned” for students, staff and alumni caught up in the attack.
Khan pleaded guilty to involvement in the 2010 Stock Exchange Plot, a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey, along with other targets, including then London mayor Boris Johnson.
Khan and two others were identified by the judge as “the more serious jihadists”. He said they should not be released until they were no longer a threat to the public.
It has been reported that one of those who tackled Khan was a convicted murderer on day release from prison.
More by this authorPaul Brackley