Fishmongers' Hall: Terror attacker was 'greater risk' at end of sentence

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image copyrightMet Police
image captionSaskia Jones and Jack Merritt were killed by Usman Khan at the conference on offender rehabilitation

Convicted terrorist Usman Khan posed "a greater risk than before he was jailed" at the time of his release from prison, a psychologist has said.

Ieva Cechaviciute, who assessed the Fishmongers' Hall attacker in 2018, warned he had "made little progress".

She said that when interviewing Khan at HMP Whitemoor, he showed an underlying "bitterness and anger".

Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt were killed by Khan at a prisoner education event in London in November 2019.

Ms Cechaviciute told inquests into their deaths that following a series of interviews lasting over six-and-a-half hours, she felt "very worried" ahead of Khan's impending release into the community.

On his manner during their sessions, she said: "It appeared that it was underlying anger and bitterness in his approach towards me, but I think he was trying to be very polite in the interview."

Being in jail had even made him a "greater risk" and "elevated his profile", the jury was told.

image copyrightWest Midlands Police
image captionKhan, from Stafford in the West Midlands, had armed himself with knives and a fake suicide belt for the attack

Ms Cechaviciute also noted intelligence that Khan had radicalised others and was involved with extremist gangs.

She told London's Guildhall that she had assessed that Khan's risk of engaging in "extremist activity" would increase upon his release in December 2018.

When confronted with incidents of violence or anything portraying him in a "negative light", Khan responded by "rationalising it, minimising it or denying it", she said.

"That means he will not be able to manage his risk because he's not aware of it and not interested in managing himself."

While Khan might have wanted to change, he was "not being very successful at it", she added.

Ms Cechaviciute had flagged up potential warning signs to look for following his release, including lack of purpose, boredom and unemployment.

The court has previously heard that Khan's attempts to find a job were unsuccessful and he spent time alone at home, playing on his Xbox.

image copyrightMetropolitan Police
image captionUsman Khan spent a lot of time alone at his Salford home playing on his Xbox, the inquest heard

On 29 November 2019, 11 months after his release, Khan, from Stafford, fatally stabbed Cambridge graduates Mr Merritt, 25, and Ms Jones, 23, at Fishmongers' Hall.

He was chased on to London Bridge by members of the public armed with a fire extinguisher and narwhal tusk and was then shot dead by police.

The inquests continue.

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