Vigil honours London attack victims; politicians trade blame

Dad Of London Terror Victim Slams UK Media For Using His Son’s Death As “Vile Propaganda”

In London, residents and officials gathered for a vigil today to mourn the deaths of two former Cambridge students who were killed in a stabbing on London Bridge Friday in what is being called a terror attack.

The victims were remembered on Monday in services at Guildhall Yard in the City of London and outside the Guildhall in Cambridge, the city where both had studied.

Britain's Boris Johnson said Sunday he had ordered the security services to step up monitoring of convicted terrorists released early from prison, prompting accusations that he was exploiting the London Bridge attack for political gain less than two weeks before elections.

Tributes were also paid to the injured, emergency services and members of the public who fought the attacker.

Veterinary science student Leanne O'Brien was comforted by Merritt's parents as she was overwhelmed with grief while clutching a teddy bear at the emotional event in Cambridge, according to the Evening Standard. Williamson said one staffer was identified as Lukasz, and pulled a 1.5-metre narwhal tusk from the wall and charged at Khan, allowing others to escape.

The attack has pushed security to the top of the agenda in campaigning for the U.K.'s December 12 election.

That rule was changed in 2012 by a Conservative-led government, and Johnson has vowed to end the early release of violent offenders altogether.

Opposition parties blamed years of cuts to the prison and probation services by the Conservatives, who have been in power since 2010. He was released a year ago without an assessment from the parole board of whether he was a threat to the public, despite a warning from the sentencing judge that such an assessment should be made.

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In this photo taken on December 2, 2019, floral tributes are left for Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones, who were killed in a terror attack in London, England.

The 34-year-old was detained in a police raid targeting his home in Stoke-on-Trent, central England, on Saturday on suspicion of getting things ready for new terrorist acts.

Usman Khan was wearing an electronic tag as he went on a stabbing rampage at the conference venue.

However, the Monday papers in the United Kingdom - including the Daily Mail and The Express - reported on a "terror blitz", following orders from Prime Minister Boris Johnson to "crack down on extremists" in the wake of the attack.

Jones's family also highlighted her dedication to criminal justice. His relatives said he "would not want this awful, isolated incident to be used as a pretext by the government for introducing even more draconian sentences on prisoners, or for detaining people in prison for longer than necessary".

David Merritt, Jack's father has shared a tweet that the Tories have been using his son's death to promote "vile propaganda".

Following the attack, authorities are urgently reviewing the release of 74 other people who had been jailed for terrorism and released in similar circumstances to Khan. Police said on Monday he had been returned to prison for breaching his release conditions.

The incident came two years after Islamist extremists in a van ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge before attacking people at random with knives, killing eight people and wounding 48. The group did not provide any evidence.

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