A terrorist claimed notorious prisoner Charles Bronson told him “just do it” before he launched an attack that left two people dead, an inquest has heard.
Usman Khan said he met Bronson, known to be one of the UK’s most violent prisoners, when they were both inside a close-supervision centre at a high-security jail.
Two weeks before he launched his knife rampage at Fishmongers’ Hall in London, Khan told an employee of Cambridge University’s Learning Together programme about their conversations.
Lisa Ghiggini said Khan claimed that Bronson had told him: “If you’re going to do something just do it.”
“It was in the two weeks before the attack that he said it,” she added. “Khan had mentioned Bronson before a lot of times.”
Ms Ghiggini was an administrator for Learning Together, an organisation that ran educational programmes in which Khan took part at HMP Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire.
Inquests into his two victims’ deaths heard that Khan kept in touch with staff following his release from prison in 2018.
In a video filmed for a Learning Together event, he said academics had become like “family” to him and that he considered them his friends.
Khan was invited to a celebration held to mark the fifth anniversary of the programme on 29 November 2019, at Fishmongers’ Hall in London.
The inquests heard that organisers had invited the justice secretary, Robert Buckland QC, to the event, but an aide said he was “unable to make” it.
Ms Ghiggini said that during her phone calls with Khan following his release he had seemed “really chatty, hopeful”.
“I got the impression he wasn’t that religious,” she told a hearing on Friday.
Khan wrote poems and essays that he sent to Learning Together following a creative writing course.
The inquests heard that Ms Ghiggini raised concern about one poem that referenced a flower blooming in winter, because she feared it could be a metaphor for a bomb.
She said she voiced her concerns to Mr Merritt, who was the course coordinator for Learning Together.
Ms Ghiggini recalled that Mr Merritt replied: “No, no, no, Khan has been deradicalised.” The inquests continue.