A friend of one of the victims of the London Bridge terror attack has penned a heartbreaking open letter to her “darling boy”.
Former University of Cambridge student Jack Merritt was fatally stabbed by 28-year-old convicted terrorist Usman Khan during a prisoner rehabilitation event he was supporting.
Another former student, 23-year-old Saskia Jones, who was at the same conference was also killed in the attack .
Mr Merritt’s best friend, Hollie, on Sunday paid tribute to him on social media, remembering him as “championing the underdog”.
She wrote: “My darling boy. It’s been 24 hours of pure haze. Nothing has made sense and nothing has mattered. I never thought I would live in a world where seeing your beautiful face would give me such a dark pain, a pain like I’ve never felt before.
“I am so sad Jack. You were such a completely brilliant boy, you could have done anything, literally anything, but you chose to help others, you championed the underdog, you did all you could to get voices heard.
“It scares me to think that your voice is now lost, your reasonable, sensible, passionate voice could get lost in this mess. You spoke up for people and now we must do the same for you. It was senseless, this is completely senseless.
“I will never make it make sense in my head. Why would the world take such a wonderful person from us, why would that be allowed to happen? A man, fighting for a brilliant cause that led to his death, why would that happen?
“I’m still struggling to put two words together. I walked by the river yesterday morning, the air was so fresh, it was the clearest of days but I couldn’t see anything, I couldn’t hear anything and everything reminded me of you, I will always be reminded of you.
“I want you here to hug me, rip the complete shit out of me, I want you here with the love in your heart and the smile on your face. I want you to make f******* pizzas and drink nice wine and sing f******* Fast Train at the top of our lungs I want so much, I wanted so much for you.
“Your life had so much enjoyment in it, and you gave us all so much happiness. We went to the Punter last night and I kept expecting you to turn up, swanky coat, Dr Martens on, and that bloody vape in hand. I wanted to hear about your day, I wanted to hear about your conference, I wanted to hear you speak with passion, but you didn’t. You will always be here Jack.
“I will carry you everywhere I go, everything I do, you will be with me. I can’t quite believe I’ve even put this on Facebook, you hated Facebook. There’s something about people knowing you though, everyone should have known you.
“When it feels like the world is talking about your best mates death everything feels wildly out of control. I can’t control the narrative, people are talking about you and they don’t know you Jack.
“You’d have f******* loved it, Jesus Christ. But it’s hard, I need you to be known for who you were, your beliefs and voice. I’m so angry Jack. I can’t believe I got to call you my best mate, I can’t believe I got the privilege of your love, I can’t believe didn’t tell you enough.
“You were quite simply the best thing, completely golden. Your voice won’t be lost, you will never be lost and I will never let you be forgotten. My darling boy, my heart is broken. Jack Merritt you deserve the world.”
David Merritt, Jack’s father, previously released a statement that said his son was a “beautiful spirit” who “lived his beliefs” and that he was learning new things about him through tributes paid online.
A statement from the family said: “Jack Merritt, our beautiful, talented boy, died doing what he loved, surrounded by people he loved and who loved him. He lit up our lives and the lives of his many friends and colleagues, and we will miss him terribly.
“Jack lived his principles; he believed in redemption and rehabilitation, not revenge, and he always took the side of the underdog.
“Jack was an intelligent, thoughtful and empathetic person who was looking forward to building a future with his girlfriend, Leanne, and making a career helping people in the criminal justice system.
“We know Jack would not want this terrible, 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.”