London Bridge attack victims honored in vigil | News | DW | 02.12.2019
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London Bridge attack victims honored in vigil

Britain paid tribute to Saskia Jones, 23, and Jack Merritt, 25, killed in a terror attack in London on Friday. Emergency services and Londoners who stepped in to tackle the assailant were also honored.

A vigil was held at Guildhall Yard in the City of London on Monday for the victims of the terror attack near London Bridge last Friday.

The two people killed — Saskia Jones, 23, and Jack Merritt, 25 — were honored in the memorial service.

The ceremony also paid tribute to the emergency services and the people who stepped in to tackle the attacker.

A book of condolence was opened at Guildhall Art Gallery with a space set aside nearby so that Londoners can lay flowers, according to a statement released by the mayor of London's office.

Guildhall Yard is less than a kilometer away from where convicted terrorist, Usman Khan, 28, carried out the knife attack on Friday.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan praised the actions of the Londoners who stepped in to stop the attackers, saying "like many, I will never forget the bravery of ordinary Londoners and the emergency services who risked their own lives to save others. They are the best of us. Our city — the greatest city in the world — will continue to stand united and resolute against terror."

UK prime minister Boris Johnson looks at Jeremy Corbyn

Politicians have been accused of politicizing the deaths of Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt

The UK's Prime Minister Boris Johnson attended the vigil, as well as leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn — the attack happened during the run-up to a general election and has pushed the issue of terror onto the election agenda.

Read more: London Bridge attack: Poland honors narwhal tusk-wielding hero

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London knife attacker identified as terrorist

Who were the victims?

Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt had been helping host an event to mark five years of Cambridge University's "Learning together" prisoner rehabilitation program.

Both victims had studied at the university and Merritt worked as a course coordinator at Cambridge University's criminology institute and Jones was volunteering at the event.

In a statement released through police, Merritt's family paid tribute to "our beautiful, talented boy" who they said had died "doing what he loved."

"Jack was an intelligent, thoughtful and empathetic person who was looking forward to building a future... and making a career helping people in the criminal justice system," they said.

A vigil in Guildhall Yard, London, to honor the victims off the London Bridge terror attack

The vigil was held at Guildhall Yard, less than a kilometer from where the attack took place

Flowers at London Bridge

People have laid flowers close to where Londoners tackled the assailant on London bridge

The family of Jack Merritt took part in the vigil

The family of Jack Merritt warned against politicians politicizing their son's death

Jones's family described her as "a funny, kind, positive influence at the center of many people's lives" who had recently applied for a police graduate recruitment program, hoping to specialize in a victim support role.

"She was intent on living life to the full and had a wonderful thirst for knowledge, enabling her to be the best she could be," they added.

Cambridge University's vice chancellor said he was "devastated to learn that among the victims were staff and alumni."

"What should have been a joyous opportunity to celebrate the achievements of this unique and socially transformative program, hosted by our Institute of Criminology, was instead disrupted by an unspeakable criminal act," he added.

"Our university condemns this abhorrent and senseless act of terror."

Watch video 00:51

Police: London stabbing attack is 'terrorist incident'

Early release for convicted terrorists?

The attacker, Usman Khan, had attended the prisoner rehabilitation program.

The attack has sparked a debate in the UK over whether convicted terrorists should be eligible for early release.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday said that 74 people jailed for terror offences and released early will have their license conditions reviewed.

Merritt's family, however, criticized Johnson for politicizing their son's death, saying that their son would have been opposed to "even more draconian sentences on prisoners."

Watch video 00:29

Johnson: Anybody involved in this crime 'will be hunted down'

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