A woman who had a “great passion” for supporting victims of criminal justice has been identified by police as the second victim of the London Bridge terror attack.
Cambridge University graduate Saskia Jones, 23, was volunteering at a prisoner rehabilitation conference when she was fatally stabbed on Friday, alongside her colleague Jack Merritt.
The pair were murdered by convicted terrorist Usman Khan who, wearing a fake suicide vest and wielding knives, embarked on a knife rampage at the Fishmongers’ Hall.
“Both were graduates of the University of Cambridge and were involved in the Learning Together program, Jack as a co-ordinator and Saskia as a volunteer,” police said.
The gathering where the attack broke out had been meant to celebrate the fifth year of the program, university vice chancellor Stephen Toope said.
Khan was apparently attending the event and had returned for the afternoon session when he started his attack.
“What should have been a joyous opportunity to celebrate the achievements of this unique and socially transformative program, hosted by our Institute of Criminology, was instead disrupted by an unspeakable criminal act,” Mr Toope said.
Ms Jones’ grieving family released a statement on Monday, describing her as a “funny, kind, positive influence”.
“Saskia was a funny, kind, positive influence at the centre of many people’s lives,” the family statement read.
“She had a wonderful sense of mischievous fun and was generous to the point of always wanting to see the best in all people.
“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.
“This is an extremely painful time for the family. Saskia will leave a huge void in our lives and we would request that our privacy is fully respected.”
Khan’s rampage was brought to an end, in part, because of bystanders, who wrestled him to the ground before the police shot him dead.
So far the police have found no evidence to suggest Khan was working with others.
Three people remain in hospital, two of them in a stable condition, after Friday’s attack. The third person is suffering from less serious injuries.
Khan was released from jail in December 2018 “on licence” after being convicted in 2012 of terrorism offences, which means he had to meet certain conditions or face recall to prison.
He is one of nine members of an al Qaida-inspired terror group that plotted to bomb the London Stock Exchange and build a terrorist training camp.
Without providing any evidence, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack, saying Khan was one of its fighters.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said if he won the December 12 election he would invest more money in the prison system and make sentences tougher.
“We are going to bring in tougher sentences for serious sexual and violent offenders and for terrorists,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.
“I absolutely deplore the fact that this man was out on the street, I think it was absolutely repulsive and we are going to take action.”
Khan’s attack near London Bridge stirred memories of Britain’s last election in 2017, when three militants drove a van into pedestrians in the same part of the capital and attacked people, killing eight and injuring at least 48.