Officers got ‘critical shot’ permission for Fishmongers’ Hall terrorist Usman Khan

The inquest into Usman Khan’s death continues at Guildhall

The Fishmongers’ Hall terrorist shouted “I have got a bomb” before police shot at him 20 times after he fatally stabbed two Cambridge graduates, an inquest into his death was told.

Usman Khan appeared to be wearing an explosive suicide belt when he was confronted by police officers on London Bridge in November 2019.

He goaded armed police and ignored orders to remain still before officers opened fire.

One officer, identified as YX16, fired his Taser, while a second, identified as YX99, shot him twice. All armed officers involved in the operation have been granted anonymity.

Footage from cameras worn by the armed officers showed that Khan was already being tackled by members of the public when they arrived.

Khan had pulled up his coat to show what appeared to be an explosive belt and shouted “Allahu akbar [God is great]”.

Officers were heard screaming “he has got a bomb, get back”. When one officer shouted “stay still”, Khan responded: “No, Allahu akbar”.

After the initial shooting further armed officers arrived. They asked if permission had been given for a “critical shot”, the inquest was told.

Khan was seen to get something from inside his jacket, throw a glove into the air and roll on to his back and then his side.

Eight minutes after the initial shots Khan was seen sitting up and three other officers opened fire. At least nine shots were fired in the initial volley. This was followed by a single shot then four others.

Khan writhed around on the pavement as injuries were seen on his torso and face with blood pooling beside his body.

Permission was given to the officers for a “critical shot” and he was hit a further two times.

The inquest was told that six officers fired 20 shots at Khan. Footage from a police helicopter showed Khan slump back on to the pavement.

A policeman was then heard saying “The man has stopped moving” 11 minutes after the first officers had arrived.

Steve Hurst, who was giving a tourist tour in a Mini Cooper, stopped on London Bridge and helped tackle Khan. He was joined by his colleague, Thomas Gray, who was driving another Mini.

Hurst told the inquest that the police gave Khan “many chances, and issued so many warnings telling the suspect to stay down but the suspect just didn’t”.

“I still vividly remember the blood mists from the shots,” he added.

Gray described kicking Khan’s left hand to try to free one of the knives. Khan had taped two knives to his gloves in a lavatory cubicle inside Fishmongers’ Hall before repeatedly stabbing Jack Merritt, 25, by the urinals outside.

Photographs shown to the inquest showed Merritt’s blood on the floor alongside a copy of a book called Fortress of the Muslim.

Detective Chief Inspector Dan Brown of City of London Police said the book was a general book of prayer.

“There is a significant amount of blood and it is clear the attack started outside the cubicles,” Brown said.

Inside the cubicle Khan, 28, had left his rucksack, a third knife, his watch and a T-shirt with the logo of Learning Together, the prisoner rehabilitation charity which organised the conference at Fishmongers’ Hall.

Khan then left the lavatory and stabbed Saskia Jones, 23, in the neck.

He went on to stab Stephanie Szczotko, 26, and Isobel Rowbotham, 23, who worked for Learning Together, and Fishmongers’ Hall porter Lukasz Koczocik, 40, who had tackled him with an historic pike. All three survived.

Merritt and Jones both died of their injuries while Khan was pursued outside on to London Bridge by three men, including a serving and former prisoner.

Khan had been arrested in 2010 and later jailed for eight years for plotting to set up a terrorism training camp in Pakistan. He was released in December 2018.

Khan had travelled to the conference in the City of London from Stafford, West Midlands, where he had moved after being released from prison.

Learning Together is based at Cambridge University.

An inquest jury found last week that Merritt and Jones had been unlawfully killed after failures by West Midlands and Staffordshire police, probation officers and MI5.

A separate inquest into Khan’s death continues at Guildhall in the City of London.

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