A communications manager who bravely helped wrestle the Fishmongers’ Hall attacker to the ground begged police not to give the suspect the “satisfaction” of shooting him dead, an inquest jury heard.
Darryn Frost recalled in second-by-second detail how he refused to let go of Usman Khan, despite the convicted terrorist being armed with knives and wearing a suspected suicide belt, as their stand-off spilled onto London Bridge, even though armed police yelled at him to do so.
Mr Frost joined two other delegates at a nearby prisoner rehabilitation event in chasing after 28-year-old Khan, who fatally stabbed Cambridge University graduates Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones in his bloody rampage on November 29 2019. He was later shot by police.
The inquest jury heard Khan had earlier told Mr Frost how he was wearing a suicide belt, and said: “I’m not here for you, I’m waiting for the police.”
During tearful testimony on Wednesday at the inquests into the deaths, at Guildhall in the City of London, Mr Frost recalled how he refused to let go of Khan on London Bridge.
He told the inquests: “I said, ‘I’ve got his hands, he can’t kill anyone else, I won’t let him kill anyone else’.
“I didn’t want him to be shot. His statement that he was waiting for the police meant he wanted to die.”
Mr Frost, his voice trembling with emotion, added: “I saw the chaos he had caused in the hall – I didn’t want him to have the satisfaction of his choice when he had taken that away from others.”
Mr Frost, who works for the Prison and Probation Service, said he had first caught a glimpse of the suicide belt during their earlier stand-off in Fishmongers’ Hall, moments after he ran past a fatally injured Ms Jones.
Khan was later felled by a combination of the narwhal tusk, being struck with a fire extinguisher held by former prisoner John Crilly, and being hit by unarmed fellow delegate Steve Gallant.
It was then that Mr Frost said he had proper sight of Khan’s “suicide belt” and thought it might be a fake device.
He said: “Beside these tubes, there looked like a little box.
“It looked like it was made out of cardboard and there was a gap of a millimetre-and-a-half and I could see it was empty, so I wasn’t sure if it was a bomb or not.
“I thought maybe the bomb is fake and maybe I should let go.”
He added: “Time seemed to slow down exponentially.
“I thought if I let Khan go there was a chance he would let off this bomb.
“I thought I was risking getting shot in the head if I didn’t let go.
“I thought I was in control of the situation, isolating his hands from the belt.”
The police then pulled Mr Frost away, and he took refuge nearby where he heard three “cracks”.
He told the inquests: “I thought it was fireworks… that he had set off this device but it was of an amateur nature.”
He added: “I thought everyone was dead in the vicinity, including the police I was trying to protect.
“I was looking for smoke from these fireworks.
“But there didn’t appear to be any, so I thought the police shot him.”
Coroner Mark Lucraft QC, at the end of Mr Frost’s evidence, said: “Can I also simply echo the words said about your amazing bravery that day, thank you for everything you did.”