Dad of London Bridge victim says 'hardest thing' was telling his other son after pulling him out of the pub

THE heartbroken dad of London Bridge terror attack victim Jack Merritt has said the "hardest thing" was pulling his other son out the pub to tell him his brother had been killed.

Jack, 25, was murdered along with Saskia Jones, 23, by convicted terrorist Usman Khan as they attended the Learning Together conference on prisoner rehabilitation at the Fishmongers' Hall on Friday last week.


The 28-year-old, armed with two knives and wearing a fake suicide vest, was tackled by members of the public, including ex-offenders from the conference, before he was shot dead by police.

In an emotional interview with Sky News, Jack's dad David, 54, told of the devastating moment he learned his son had been caught up in the terror attack.

He recalled: "When I got home my wife was driving my car into the drive which seemed a bit odd and she came out and she was just beside herself saying 'we've got to go to London, we've got to go to London.'

"And I said 'why have we got to go to London?' And she said 'because Jack has been involved in this incident at London Bridge.'"

He said his wife had been contacted by somebody and it was believed Jack had been stabbed.

David said: "We got a taxi and went to the Royal London Hospital and waited and then we were told at about 11.45pm…they confirmed he'd been killed."

'HARDEST THING'

David, from Cottenham in Cambridgeshire, then told of the horrendous moment he had to break the heartbreaking news to his other son, who was out drinking with pals.

He said: "When we got to Cambridge we had to go and meet our son who had been working and was having a drink with his friends in a pub and we had to get him out of the pub and tell him…he didn't know. We didn't want to tell him over the phone.

"We went and got him and we had to tell him that his brother had died which was probably the hardest thing I've had to do so far."

Jack, a course counsellor for Learning Together, knew the terrorist through his rehabilitation work.

David said: "He did know Usman. It makes it more unbelievable because I can't imagine how someone who had been befriended and helped by someone like Jack could then in a fairly calculating way kill them.

"The only person responsible for what he did is him."

'BORIS VERY OFFENSIVE'

David also hit out at politicians, including the Prime Minister, for trying to make "make political capital" from his son's death.

He told Sky News: "What was required was a dignified approach whereby the politicians would express their condolences to the people affected and would then get on with campaigning in the election. It wasn't an election issue.

"Where most of us were seeing a tragedy unfolding before our eyes, instead of seeing a tragedy, Boris Johnson saw an opportunity and went on the offensive.

"He saw an opportunity to score some points in the election.

"I had to say something. I found him very offensive, there was no reference to us, there was no attempt to contact us or discuss it with us."

He added: "If anyone has a right to say something about this situation, then it's me and it's family. We have lost Jack. Jack can't speak for himself anymore."

Mr Johnson sought to blame Labour for the early release of convicted terrorist Khan.

He claimed Khan, who was freed automatically halfway through a 16-year jail sentence, was on the streets because of laws introduced by a "leftie government" and has committed to changing sentencing law.

A spokesman for Mr Johnson said: "The Prime Minister has expressed his deepest condolences to Mr Merritt for his tragic loss – an experience no family should have to go through.

"The PM's view remains it is 'extraordinary and wrong' that Khan had been released halfway through his prison sentence and has long argued that sentencing should be tougher for violent and extremist offenders."





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