Saskia Jones, 23, was a passionate advocate for victimsMetropolitan Police

Tributes to Saskia Jones, a volunteer for the prison rehabilitation organisation Learning Together, have begun to pour in since she was identified yesterday as one of the two victims of Friday’s London Bridge terror attack. Jones’ family described her as “a funny, kind, positive influence at the centre of many people’s lives.” With a “wonderful sense of mischievous fun” she was “generous to the point of always wanting to see the best in people.”

They added that she was “intent on living life to the full and had a wonderful thirst for knowledge, enabling her to be the best she could be.”

Jones, 23, was from Stratford-upon-Avon, and studied Criminology at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) before pursuing an MPhil in Criminology from Cambridge, graduating in 2018. Alongside her studies, she carried out voluntary work with inmates at HMP Grendon and was also a volunteer at Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre.

She and Jack Merritt, who was also killed in the attack, had been attending the fifth anniversary conference and celebration of Learning Together, a prison rehabilitation programme organised by Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology.

Documentary filmmaker Jill Nicholls tweeted today that she had “read that Saskia who was killed had written her dissertation about rape crisis provision,” saying that “she was a force for good in this world.”

“She was fearless, she was a warrior… she was going to change the world,” said Colleen Moore, a lecturer in Criminology at ARU and friend of Jones. Moore added that she “stood out above everyone - partly because she wanted to, she wasn’t afraid to say anything.”

Professor Loraine R. Gelsthorpe, Director of the Institute of Criminology, said that “her determination to make an enduring and positive impact on society in everything she did led her to stay in contact with the Learning Together community,” who “were inspired by her determination to push towards the good.”

Rebecca L Greene, Honorary Artist in Residence at the Institute of Criminology echoed this as she spoke of Jones as “a bright, determined woman possessing deep connection with the work of Learning Together,” and of the loss of her “talent” as “a tragedy for us all.”

“I’m so sorry that the world won’t get to see what she could have achieved”

Jones had recently applied for a police graduate recruitment programme, due to her “great passion for providing invaluable support to victims of criminal injustice” and hopes to specialise in victim support, her family said.

Professor Gelsthorpe reiterated Saskia’s dedication to prisoner rehabilitation. Her “warm disposition and extraordinary intellectual creativity was combined with a strong belief that people who have committed criminal offenses should have opportunities for rehabilitation.”

Dr Olivia Smith, Lecturer in Criminology and Social Policy at Loughborough University, tweeted that “Saskia’s dissertation was so good that I cried with pride when I marked it,” she continued, expressing her hope that the Criminology department at ARU “will make it public” because staff “were amazed by the beauty and power of her words.”

Her friend Sebastian Lefeuvre similarly praised the extent of her “drive and determination”, saying that “at 23 years old she had accomplished things that people hadn’t done in their lifetime”.

“She was just kind, she was just so kind,” another friend of Jones, James Morgans, recounted. “If you went in a room with her, even if you were in tears, you would leave happy,” he said, adding that she had “so much love to give.”

Another friend, Lauren told ITV News of Jones’ selflessness, how she “has always been a hero, she was always helping other people.”

Another of Jones’ friends, Jack Partridge, spoke of how “vibrant” she was and how “heartbroken” her loss had left him: “she’d have a joke with you and would put you in your place when you were wrong.”

Attendees at the vigil in Cambridge laid down notes and flowers for Saskia Jones and Jack MerrittJoe Cook

Bloxham School, which Jones had attended, said they were “deeply shocked and saddened” to learn of her death. Paying tribute to Jones in a statement, they continued: “Saskia was a much loved member of our community and will be remembered fondly for her generosity, kindness of spirit and commitment to serving others.”

In a statement published today, Stratford Town Council said that “the town flag will be flown at half-mast from the balcony of the Town Hall for a period of five days as a tribute to this much-respected citizen of the town.”

Hundreds attended a vigil outside the Cambridge Guildhall earlier today, to remember and honour Jones and Merritt, where attendees embraced, lit candles, and laid bouquets of flowers for the two victims. A similar vigil was held at the same time in Guildhall Hall, London, and was attended by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

Khan urged the public to “draw inspiration from the lives of Jack and Saskia who, from a very early age, chose to dedicate themselves to helping others.”

Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon also held a minute’s silence at 11am today, and has opened a book of condolence.

On Twitter, Dr Smith added that Jones was “one of those students [who] makes you so proud to be in this job. I’m so sorry that the world won’t get to see what she could have achieved.”

She told of how Jones had done a firewalk in 2017 to raise money for Cambridge Rape Crisis. “I donated again today in honour of her life, because I couldn’t think of a better way to honour her.”

“She was one of a kind and loved justice, she would have been a force for good and I’m so sorry for us all that we’ve lost her.”

If you have been affected by the content of this article, the following links offer support and resources: the NHS guide to bereavementCruse bereavement care local support servicesThe Samaritans 24-hour helpline.

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