Family anger over MI5 bid to keep terror attack evidence secret

Secret evidence could shed light on whether MI5 and police failed to prevent the Fishmongers’ Hall attack, a court has heard.

Cambridge University graduates Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, were killed by convicted terrorist Usman Khan at a prisoner rehabilitation event near London Bridge on November 29 2019.

Khan, 28, who was armed with two knives and wore a fake suicide vest, was tackled by members of the public and then shot dead by police on London Bridge.

Jack Merritt, 25

Jack Merritt, 25

Saskia Jones, 23

Saskia Jones, 23

Cambridge University graduates Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, were killed by convicted terrorist Usman Khan at a prisoner rehabilitation event near London Bridge on November 29 2019

A full inquest is due to start on April 12 before Coroner Mark Lucraft QC at the Guildhall in central London.

At a pre-inquest hearing on Thursday, a public interest immunity (PII) application was made for material to remain secret in the interests of national security.

Jesse Nicholls, for the Merritt family, said: ‘The evidence over which PII is claimed appears to be of central relevance to one of, if not the central issue in these inquests – whether the attack could and should have been prevented.

‘That is a matter of the greatest importance to Jack’s family and the wider public.’

He said the open evidence led to ‘significant concern that opportunities were missed to prevent Khan’s attack’.

He pointed out that Khan had previously been convicted of plotting to carry out attacks at central London landmarks and against high-profile individuals.

MI5 had long-held concerns about him and he was assessed at or near the ‘very highest level’ of risk up to his release from prison, the court heard.

Security services were informed that he intended to re-engage in terrorism-related activity, including carrying out an attack, following his release, Mr Nicholls said.

Usman Khan, pictured, stabbed Mr Merritt and Ms Jones before he was shot dead by police

Usman Khan, pictured, stabbed Mr Merritt and Ms Jones before he was shot dead by police

Usman Khan, pictured, stabbed Mr Merritt and Ms Jones before he was shot dead by police 

And both MI5 and counter-terrorism police continued to have concerns about Khan in the months leading to the attack, it was alleged.

Khan was subject to active monitoring and MI5 was concerned that his apparent compliance may have been a manipulative attempt to avoid scrutiny from the authorities, the court heard.

On November 18 2019, just 11 days before the attack, MI5 and counter-terrorism police identified Khan as being increasingly withdrawn and at risk of re-engaging in Islamist extremist activity, it was claimed.

Even though they knew he was intending to travel to the Learning Together event in central London with high-profile guests, no steps were taken to stop him going or to alert organisers, Mr Nicholls said.

If the PII claim is upheld, the inquests would not ask and answer the ‘central questions’ and comply with the statutory duty of inquiry, he argued.

Mr Nicholls said the family would then invite the coroner to convene an inquiry.

He said the family do so ‘with their eyes open to the consequences’.

He added: ‘It is what Jack would have wanted. For them, they want it to be got right.’

Jonathan Hough QC, counsel to the inquests, said that if the PII application is successful, consideration should be made as to whether the inquest could carry out a ‘satisfactory’ investigation or if a public inquiry request is needed.

Khan was challenged outside the Fishmonger's Hall by members of the public before the arrival of police

Khan was challenged outside the Fishmonger's Hall by members of the public before the arrival of police

Khan was challenged outside the Fishmonger’s Hall by members of the public before the arrival of police 

The inquest will include a large amount of witness and documentary evidence on the critical decision to allow Khan to travel to London, he said.

The security service’s ‘witness A’ could be questioned on key information received by MI5 and whether it was shared with others.

There is no suggestion that the PII material contains evidence of attack planning, the court was told.

Mr Hough said there is no evidence that Khan did anything in public that would point to attack planning or that he shared his plans with anyone.

Following submissions in open court, the pre-inquest hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice continued with the PII application in a closed hearing.

Link hienalouca.com

Advertising:

Tips to Find Low Priced Luxury Holiday Package Deals Fast

For most families, it has already been a common practice to spend the Holiday season in a foreign location. This is caused by the aviation market changes which have given a lot of benefits for people who travel a lot. Airfares going to different tourist destinations are becoming more inexpensive. What does this mean? If there is a perfect time to purchase luxury holiday package deals, now it the right time! Based on the market trend nowadays, you can save both money and time when you go for a luxury holiday. There are countless offers that combine travel and accommodation in one package which is a lot cheaper than getting separate deals. Aside from that, it is also risky to individually book the services that you need for the vacation. You might end up missing out on some important details of the trip. Unlike when you take advantage of luxury holiday package deals, you can be sure that everything is organized meticulously and according to what you really need. Nonetheless, you would still need to carefully select the package that would fit your needs. Review the following tips in getting packages that are reasonably priced. · Normally, luxury tour packages include accommodation, flight travel and transportation to individual tourist destinations. It would be best to choose the complete package so you won’t have to worry about other vacation elements. In addition to that, these are the packages that have the biggest discounts. · You can get big mark down prices, if you will purchase more packages. It is not a bad idea to share the wonderful moment with your loved ones. By doing so, you would not only enjoy, you will also save more money. You can even use your savings for other activities on your vacation. · It would be best to know how much you are willing to pay for the luxury tour packages. You can already work around your budget. You have to stick to your budget. If not, you might end up spending a lot and you will be left with less money for your vacation. · Prices may vary depending on the destination of the tour. You can do a research about places that are attractive yet inexpensive. There are thousands of destinations and you just have to choose wisely. · There are packages that include recreational activities. This means that you are paying for all the activities when you purchase these packages. The right thing to do is to make sure that the activities that are included would be the ones that you really enjoy. There is no sense in paying for activities that will not really make your vacation memorable. If you are going with friends, you should also consider their preferences so that you can be sure that everyone will enjoy the trip. There are other ways on how you can be sure that you are getting the best deal for your luxury holiday vacation. No matter how you choose to do it, you have to get adequate information about the packages. This will help you determine whether it is worth the price.

(Total views: 105 Time, 1 visits per day)

Leave a Reply