Merritt was course coordinator for Learning Together, a prisoner rehabilitation programme run by the Institute of CriminologyJack Merritt

Content Note: this article contains discussion of violence and terrorism, and a brief mention of sexual assault.

The inquest into the deaths of Cambridge graduates Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones began on Monday (12/4), with friends and family members remembering the victims in tributes.

Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones were killed by convicted terrorist Usman Khan at a prisoner rehabilitation conference at Fishmongers Hall, near London Bridge, in November 2019. The attacker was shot dead by police after injuring two others.

The issues that are expected to be addressed during the trial include whether the attack was avoidable and Khan’s previous conviction for planning attacks at central landmarks in London, alongside his release from prison and permitted attendance at the event.

Khan was jailed in 2012 for contributing to a planned attack in London, with targets including the London Stock Exchange. He was subsequently freed on licence at the time of the Fishmongers Hall attack.

At the time of the 2019 attack, Khan was under “active investigation” by counter-terrorism officials, and was considered a priority three suspect by MI5, the same as other prisoners released after being imprisoned for serious terrorism offences.

Merritt, who coordinated the criminal justice charity Learning Together, which was celerating its fifth anniversary at the time of the conference, was described by his mother, Annie Merritt, as a “force for good in the world, someone who made other people’s lives better for knowing him.” Merritt was 25 at the time of his death.

Saskia Jones, a Cambridge graduate, was described as “someone who battled to improve the lives of others” Metropolitan Police

Merritt’s mother added: “We are hugely proud of who Jack was and what he stood for. His death was a tragedy but his life was a triumph.”

Tributes from friends and family were also read out to jurors, describing him as a “true visionary”, a “very cool brother” and a “fiercely loyal” friend who “championed the underdog”.

Friends from Cambridge University, where he worked for the Learning Together charity, praised Merritt as “fiercely loyal” and “absorbingly intelligent”.

Saskia Jones, a Cambridge graduate, also involved in the Learning Together charity, was remembered as someone “who battled to improve the lives of others in several spheres and was driven to make real changes in the world”.

In a statement read out to the inquest, the 23-year-old victim was praised for “incredible research in the field of sexual violence and Rape Crisis”.

“Her passion in this area enabled her to finally find her career path with the hope of becoming a detective in victim support within a police force,” the family added.

The family chose not to provide a full portrait of Jones at the inquest, believing she would wish “the focus of the coroner and the jury” to be on “the facts and evidence before them” and for the emphasis to be on a “thorough investigation as to how she came to lose her life.”

The statement continued: “It would be her hope that no other family is devastated and heartbroken again in similar circumstances.”

The inquest went on to chronicle the attack through photographs and videos, with footage showing Khan, 28, talking at a table with Jones before the attack.


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In a statement released shortly after the event, Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope said he was “sad beyond words” at the tragic events that had taken place.

The inquest at London’s Guildhall is expected to last nine weeks.