Man who fought terror attacker: Gallantry medal provides me with ‘closure’

A man who helped tackle the Fishmongers’ Hall terror attacker said being awarded a medal for his bravery has provided him with “closure” over the incident.

Lukasz Koczocik, 43, one of four men who confronted convicted terrorist Usman Khan in November 2019, was presented with the Queen’s Gallantry Medal by the Princess Royal at Windsor Castle on Tuesday.

Usman Khan, who had two large knives and a fake suicide belt, fatally stabbed Cambridge graduates Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, in the attack and injured three other people before running on to London Bridge, where he was shot dead by armed police.

Investitures at Windsor Castle
Lukasz Koczocik receives his medal from the Princess Royal at Windsor Castle (Jonathan Brady/PA)

He was held off by Mr Koczocik alongside Steven Gallant, John Crilly and Darryn Frost and all four were awarded the medal in this year’s Civilian Gallantry list.

Mr Koczocik, who used a long ceremonial pike taken from the walls of the Grade II-listed building to disarm Khan before police arrived, said it was an “amazing honour” to receive the award in front of his wife Kasha and his mother and brother.

The decoration is awarded for exemplary acts of bravery and this year’s Civilian Gallantry List is the last to have been approved by the late Queen.

Polish national Mr Koczocik told the PA news agency: “This medal has brought closure, this attack is behind me and yet it’s an amazing honour.”

Investitures at Windsor Castle
Lukasz Koczocik chats to the Princess Royal after receiving his medal for gallantry (Jonathan Brady/PA)

He said he would “never” label himself as a hero for his valiant efforts during that fatal day.

“I just did what I thought was right at that time and place, never a hero,” he said.

“I did something which I never expected I could do myself, now I know there’s more in me.

“Every time I think about the people who lost their lives during that day, it still wrenches my gut.

“They were young people, bright people, I never knew them personally but it still makes me feel bad that there was nothing else I could do to stop it.”

John Crilly, one of the four men who confronted the terrorist, was unable to attend Windsor Castle on Tuesday to receive his medal and his investiture will be rearranged for a later date.