Vigils for the victims of the London Bridge attack have been held in London and Cambridge, United Kingdom (UK).
Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, were commemorated at the services, which included a minute’s silence. They were stabbed to death by convicted terrorist Usman Khan, 28, at a prisoner rehabilitation conference on Friday.
It was gathered that Khan was under investigation by MI5 when he left prison a year ago, but given one of the lowest priorities. Merritt and Jones were both graduates of the University of Cambridge’s institute of criminology and had been taking part in an event for its Learning Together programme – which focuses on education within the criminal justice system – when they were attacked. Merritt’s family and his girlfriend attended the service in Cambridge outside the Guildhall.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn were among those at the vigil at the Guildhall in the City of London. They were joined by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who said the best way to defeat the hatred shown in the attack was to focus on the values of hope, unity and love.
“The best way to defeat this hatred is not by turning on one another, but it’s by focussing on the values that bind us, to take hope from the heroism of ordinary Londoners and our emergency services who ran towards danger, risking their lives to help people they didn’t even know,” he said.
The London service happened less than a mile from Fishmongers’ Hall, where Usman Khan launched his attack on Friday.
Bishop of London Sarah Mullally said the vigils remembered “academics celebrating rehabilitation and finding only danger”.
She paid tribute to the workers at Fishmongers’ Hall, who she said went to work to offer hospitality, but found themselves needing to give protection.
The vigil in Guildhall Yard in London was led by Bishop of London Sarah Mullally. A vigil was also held at Anglia Ruskin University, where Saskia Jones attended before taking her masters at Cambridge.
The victims’ families paid tribute to their loved ones over the weekend. Merritt was a coordinator of the Learning Together programme and Ms Jones a volunteer. Ms Jones’ family said their daughter, from Stratfordupon-Avon in Warwickshire, had a “great passion” for supporting victims of criminal justice. In a statement, Merritt’s family described him as a “talented boy” who “died doing what he loved”.