Family of London Bridge terror attack victim to sue government after he was stabbed to death by a convicted terrorist

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THE family of one of the people killed by a convicted terrorist in last year’s London Bridge attack have announced they are suing the government.

Lawyers for the relatives of Jack Merritt said they had acted following the “unfathomable” failure of the Home Office and Ministry of Justice to agree to a delay to any legal action until after all investigations are completed.

PA:Press Association

Jack Merritt, 25, was killed in last year’s London Bridge terror attack[/caption]

AP:Associated Press

The attack was carried out by convicted terrorist Usman Khan, out on license at the time[/caption]

Mr Merritt, 25, was fatally stabbed along with Saskia Jones, 23, by convicted terrorist Usman Khan during a prisoner rehabilitation event at Fishmongers’ Hall in London on November 29 last year.

Khan, 28, was out on licence when he attended the event near London Bridge – organised by Cambridge University’s Learning Together programme – armed with two kitchen knives and wearing a fake suicide vest.

He was tackled by members of the public wielding a narwhal tusk, a decorative pike, and a fire extinguisher before he was shot dead by police on London Bridge.

Mr Merritt’s parents, Anne and David, his brother, Joe, and his girlfriend, Leanne O’Brien, filed a High Court claim against the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Home Office on Wednesday.

Their solicitor, Kate Maynard, said on Thursday that the family have been left with “no alternative” but to issue proceedings after the MoJ and the Home Office would not reach a “standstill agreement”.

She said that “where state agents or public bodies, by their acts or omissions, may have caused or contributed to a death”, the right to life under the European Convention on Human Rights is engaged.

Claims brought under the Human Rights Act must be brought within one year, which meant the Merritt family had to bring their case this week to “protect their position”.

A pre-inquest hearing in the case has now taken place having earlier been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A full inquest is due to get underway at the Old Bailey on April 12 next year.

Ms Maynard added that “all the relevant public bodies who are legally represented at the inquest” had reached an agreement with the family, except for the MoJ and the Home Office.

She added: “Usman Khan was a convicted terrorist under multi-agency public protection when he killed Jack and Saskia on November 29 2019.

“These circumstances raise questions about the assessment and management of Usman Khan’s risk.”

The lawyer said families “normally” reach an agreement with public bodies they may take legal action against “where the evidential picture is still emerging”.

That means “proceedings do not have to be seriously contemplated or issued until after all the investigations are completed, including an inquest”.


She added that such civil cases are often resolved after an inquest without involving the courts.

Maynard said that all the relevant public bodies being legally represented at the inquest who had been approached had agreed to a limitation holiday of one year, with the exception of the Secretaries of State for Justice and the Home Department.

“Regrettably, this left the family with no alternative but having to turn their minds to protecting their position by issuing proceedings, at a time when they were otherwise focusing their attention on celebrating Jack’s life on the anniversary of his death,” she said.

Reuters

Merritt was at the hall for an event organised by Cambridge University’s Learning Together programme[/caption]

Nick Obank – The Sun

A floral tribute outside a forensics tent at the scene[/caption]

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