Fishmongers’ Hall: Police shot at terrorist 20 times during confrontation, inquest hears

Jurors are played body-worn camera footage of confrontation on London Bridge

Jon Sharman
Tuesday 01 June 2021 22:01
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<p>Usman Khan told a counter-terrorism boss he was wearing a bulky coat, which concealed a fake suicide belt, because it was a ‘cold day’ shortly before the Fishmongers’ Hall attack</p>

Usman Khan told a counter-terrorism boss he was wearing a bulky coat, which concealed a fake suicide belt, because it was a ‘cold day’ shortly before the Fishmongers’ Hall attack

Armed police fired 20 bullets and a Taser at Usman Khan, the Fishmongers’ Hall terrorist, before he eventually died following his bloody rampage that killed two people.

The 28-year-old jihadi’s inquest heard that he was initially shot twice at close range after shouting that he had a bomb.

After that he lay prone on the ground on London Bridge for just under 10 minutes, before starting to get up.

During the 13 seconds he was sat up, a further nine shots were fired at him.

Khan, from Stafford, was later seen moving his knee off the ground, and also his left arm.

Body-worn camera footage of Khan's final moments was played to jurors at his inquest, held in City of London's Guildhall, on Tuesday.

Detective Chief Inspector Dan Brown, who led the investigation into the terror attack on 29 November 2019, said a total of 20 shots were fired at Khan and a Taser was also discharged. A firearms officer could be heard saying: “We've got the suspect, he's on the bridge. Come on boys, this is it.”

Khan stopped moving by 2.12pm, about 15 minutes after he began his stabbing spree which led to the deaths of Cambridge University graduates Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, at a prisoner education event inside Fishmongers' Hall to which Khan had been invited. He was pronounced dead after the scene was made safe.

The evidence comes after the conclusion of the inquests into Mr Merritt’s and Ms Jones’s murders last week, in which jurors found that a catalogue of failures and omissions by the UK’s security and policing apparatus had contributed to their deaths.

The management of Khan’s release from prison was seriously deficient and spies missed chances to share what they knew about him with those responsible for his supervision, the inquests heard.

Mr Merritt’s father, Dave Merritt, described MI5 and West Midlands counter-terrorism police as “complacent and passive in the face of Khan's extreme and continuing threat”.

Khan attacked 11 months after being released from prison for plotting a jihadi training camp in Pakistan. He had served eight years behind bars when he was released into the community on licence.

He had met Mr Merritt through Learning Together, a Cambridge University-affiliated education programme for prisoners during his time in jail.

The inquest jury heard he travelled down to London, unaccompanied, on the day of the attack and hid in a toilet cubicle before emerging to stab Mr Merritt, Ms Jones and three others who survived the ordeal.

Khan was later pursued by three civilians who used a fire extinguisher, a narwhal tusk and their bare hands to restrain him on London Bridge.

The inquest is due to last for two weeks.

Additional reporting by PA

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