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Usman Khan Dropped Muslim Prayer Book As He Launched Murderous Attack With Knives Taped To His Hands

© Photo : West Midlands PoliceUsman Khan, the Fishmongers' Hall attacker
Usman Khan, the Fishmongers' Hall attacker - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.04.2021
Convicted terrorist Usman Khan was attending a prisoner rehabilitation workshop near London Bridge on 29 November 2019 before fatally stabbing two people and injuring three others.

A convicted terrorist who had been freed from prison launched a murderous assault on two Cambridge University graduates after taping two knives to his wrists, an inquest has heard.

Usman Khan strapped the large kitchen knives to his hands with gaffer tape in a toilet cubicle at the Fishmongers’ Hall at the north end of London Bridge on 29 November 2019.

Detective Chief Inspector Dan Brown told an inquest Khan attacked Jack Merritt, 25, in the toilets during a break in the Learning Together workshop session.

​The jury was shown an image of the gents’ toilets, with blood on the floor and a copy of The Fortress of the Muslim, an Islamic prayer book, which Khan had dropped.

DCI Brown said Mr Merritt suffered 12 stab wounds but staggered into the reception area as Khan attacked a volunteer, Saskia Jones, 23, who was stabbed once through the neck.

Khan, 28, then stabbed Isabel Rowbotham and Stephanie Szczotko but both survived their injuries.

DCI Brown said: “There was obviously a commotion because people heard screams. People went out of another exit.”

​He said Khan wanted to get out of the building but the door was locked so he held a knife to the chest of a security guard, forcing him to release the door lock.

Khan was followed and confronted by John Crilly and Steve Gallant, both former prisoners, and another man, Darryn Frost.

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Mr Crilly was armed with a fire extinguisher, Mr Gallant had an ornamental pike, and Mr Frost had a narwhal’s tusk which had been yanked off the wall.

Moments later Khan was shot by police.

DCI Brown said the armed officers stepped back but then fired further shots and "neutralised the threat posed by him."

Khan was born and raised in Stoke-on-Trent in the Midlands and was arrested in 2010 with eight others, all of whom sympathised with al-Qaeda.

The nine were plotting to place a pipe bomb in the London Stock Exchange.

​Khan was jailed for a minimum of eight years after admitting preparing terrorist acts but in December 2018 he was released from prison and sent to live in Stafford.

DCI Brown said something was scratched on the kitchen knives which Khan used during the attack and he said it was believed to be the word "Allah" in Arabic.

He said the suicide bomb belt which Khan was wearing was found to be "not viable" and had been made with the components from an Xbox, tape and guerilla glue.

DCI Brown said he believed Khan had put the suicide belt on during the train journey from Stafford to London on the morning of the attacks.

The inquest, which is expected to hear evidence about why Khan was not seen as a security risk when he was invited to the workshop in central London, is expected to last until the end of May.

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