London Attack by Convicted Terrorist Disrupts U.K. Campaign – Goldloaded
The man suspected of stabbing two people to death near London Bridge had been released early from jail after a terrorism conviction, allowing an attack in the heart of the city that is disrupting the U.K.’s general election campaign two weeks before the vote.
Officers shot and killed the 28-year-old attacker, who was wearing a fake suicide vest after members of the public wrestled him to the ground on London Bridge, on the edge of the city’s financial district. He was tackled by passersby moments after carrying out the attack at about 2 p.m. on Friday.
Boris Johnson broke away from campaigning on Friday for the Dec. 12 election to rush back to Downing Street for a security briefing on the attack. Speaking afterward, he praised the civilians who tried to stop the suspected terrorist before police arrived, and declared that “Britain will not be cowed” by the incident.
On Saturday, Johnson met with police at the site of the attack and used the opportunity to criticize the U.K.’s criminal justice system, which routinely allows for jail sentences, even for criminals committing violent crimes or acts of terrorism, to be reduced.
“The practice of automatic early release, when you cut a sentence in half and let serious and violent offenders out, is not working,” he told the BBC after his meeting with police.
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The suspect, identified by police as Usman Khan, was released from prison on parole in December 2018, the police said in a statement. Khan was one of nine people convicted in 2012 for offenses ranging from a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange to planning a terrorist training camp. Khan originally received an indeterminate sentence, which was changed on appeal in 2013 to 16 years, the BBC reported.
Johnson also praised the men who fought the attacker and pinned him to the ground on London Bridge until the police arrived. Khan began the attack while attending a conference on prisoner rehabilitation at a building called Fishmongers’ Hall next to the bridge.
A Polish chef grabbed an ornamental narwhal tusk off a wall and used it to confront the attacker, while another chased Khan with a fire extinguisher, Sky News reported. A third man who aided the victims and tried to fend Khan off was a convicted murderer who was close to completing his sentence, the Telegraph reported, while another man stopped his car and helped the others force Khan to release the two knives he was carrying.