Jack Merritt: Girlfriend’s tribute to ‘phenomenal’ London Bridge attack victim

Jack Merritt: Girlfriend’s tribute to ‘phenomenal’ London Bridge attack victim

The girlfriend of London Bridge terror attack victim Jack Merritt has described him as a “phenomenal” man and promised: “Together, we will make a difference.”

Leanne O’Brien posted the message on Facebook after Mr Merritt’s father David attacked politicians for using his son’s death “to perpetuate an agenda of hate”.

She wrote of her boyfriend: “My love, you are phenomenal and have opened so many doors for those that society turned their backs on.”

Cambridge University graduates Mr Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, were both stabbed to death by 28-year-old convicted terrorist Usman Khan during a prisoner rehabilitation event they were supporting at London’s Fishmonger’s Hall.

On Monday, the family of Mr Merritt gathered to pay tribute to him and Miss Jones at a service in Cambridge on Monday, in which Ms O’Brien was seen breaking down in tears.

Leanne O’Brien, the girlfriend of Jack Merritt, is comforted by family members during a vigil at the Guildhall in Cambridge to honour both him and Saskia Jones (Joe Giddens/PA)
Leanne O’Brien, the girlfriend of Jack Merritt, is comforted by family members during a vigil at the Guildhall in Cambridge to honour both him and Saskia Jones (Joe Giddens/PA)

Later, David Merritt wrote in the Guardian that his son would be “livid” if he could comment on his death.

“He would be seething at his death, and his life, being used to perpetuate an agenda of hate that he gave his everything fighting against,” he said.

“We should never forget that. What Jack would want from this is for all of us to walk through the door he has booted down, in his black Doc Martens.”

Another vigil was held in memory of the victims at Guildhall Yard in London, close to the scene of the attack, attended by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

The knifeman, who was living in Stafford, was given permission to travel into the heart of London by police and the Probation Service.

Jack Merritt (Met Police/PA)
Jack Merritt (Met Police/PA)

Armed with two knives and wearing a fake suicide vest, he was tackled by members of the public, including ex-offenders from the conference, before he was shot dead by police.

One of the three people injured in the attack has been allowed to return home while the other two remain in a stable condition in hospital.

Mr Merritt, from Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, was a co-ordinator for Learning Together, a programme associated with Cambridge University’s Institute of Criminology which is aimed at bringing offenders and people in higher education to “study alongside each other”.

Miss Jones, a volunteer on the programme from Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, was described as having “great passion” for providing support to victims of crime by her family.

In a statement they said: “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.”

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