Reformed prisoner who fought London Bridge attacker was ‘prepared to die’

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Mr Merritt and Saskia Jones were the two victims who died following the terrorist attack near to London Bridge (PA)

The convicted killer who fought the London Bridge attacker has spoken how he was “prepared to die” to protect bystanders.

Reformed prisoner John Crilly used a fire extinguisher to tackle terrorist Usman Khan, who killed Cambridge students Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones and wounded three others during a knife attack on 29 November.

Mr Crilly fought Khan, who was wearing what he believed to be a live suicide belt.

Usman Khan was wearing what was believed to be a live suicide belt (AP)
Khan was killed by armed police following the attack (PA)

Speaking about the confrontation, Mr Crilly said: "I was screaming at him to blow it. I was prepared to lose my life.”

Recalling how armed police arrived to deal with the attack, Mr Crilly went on: "It seemed like ages before they shot him.

“It wasn't all gung-ho and trigger happy, they proper took their time, to the point where I did scream 'shoot him’."

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Mr Crilly has been at the Learning Together conference at Fishmongers’ Hall when he heard a “very high-pitched girl’s scream” after Khan stabbed Miss Jones.

He used a wooden lantern and then a fire extinguisher to fight Khan, saying that he was simply acting on “instinct”.

Two other men used a pole and a whale tusk taken from the venue's wall to fight off Khan and force him out of the building.

Mr Crilly said Mr Merrittt was a hero for giving up his life (Metropolitan Police)
Tributes to Cambridge University graduates Mr Merritt and Ms Jones on London Bridge (PA)

Khan was eventually shot dead by armed police after he was pinned down by bystanders.

Despite his actions, Mr Crilly said he did not consider himself a hero, adding: "Jack gave up his life, he would be my hero."

Mr Crilly was handed a life sentence for murder and robbery in 2005 after he and his associate David Flynn broke into the home of 71-year-old Augustine Maduemezia in Manchester.

Mr Maduemezia died after being punched in the face by Flynn but Mr Crilly was convicted under the joint enterprise law - used to convict defendants in gang-related cases even if they did not strike the fatal blow.