Usman Khan was ‘lawfully’ killed by police, an inquest jury concluded (Image: West Midlands Police/AFP via Get)

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Terrorist Usman Khan was lawfully killed on London Bridge by armed police after stabbing two Cambridge university graduates while wearing a fake suicide belt, an inquest jury has concluded.

The 28-year-old homegrown jihadi was finally gunned down by an effective firing squad of armed officers outside Fishmongers' Hall, after Khan strapped kitchen knives to his hands and attacked delegates at a prisoner education event in November 2019.

He murdered 23-year-old Saskia Jones and 25-year-old Jack Merritt who had volunteered for the Learning Together education programme before being chased from the hall and on to the bridge.

Before armed officers arrived, other attendees at the event tried to incapacitate Khan – striking him with a chair, a fire extinguisher and even a narwhal tusk grabbed from the walls of Fishmongers' Hall.

Khan being confronted by armed police on London Bridge following the attack
(Image: PA)

The inquest heard six police officers from the Met and City of London fired 20 times at Khan, including 18 in a 90-second period after being sanctioned to carry out a so-called "critical shot" amid fears he was about to detonate his explosive device resulting in mass casualties.

Twelve of the 20 bullets hit Khan, and a forensic pathologist gave the cause of death as haemorrhage due to multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen.

Jurors concluded on Thursday that Khan had been lawfully killed by anonymous police officers following a two-week inquest at the City of London's Guildhall, half a mile from where he died.

Saskia Jones was stabbed to death during the attack
(Image: PA)

The were directed to return a short form conclusion of lawful killing by coroner Mark Lucraft QC on the ground that each of the officers who shot Khan believed it was necessary to do so to protect themselves and others.

In a longer, narrative conclusion, the jury said that when they shot Khan dead, the officers "believed he was trying to find a trigger" on a suicide vest, and that when they opened fire, they feared Khan was moving "to detonate the device".

The jury said the first firearms officer had "fired two shots into Khan to incapacitate him and reduce the risk to the public still in the area".

Jack Merritt was one of Khan's two victims
(Image: PA)

They continued: "The police then moved slightly further away to try to gain ballistic cover while clearing the bridge of the public.

"Further armed police arrived and sought cover as best they could whilst keeping line of sight on Khan.

"They positioned themselves behind police vehicles, on the other side of the bridge behind the vehicle barriers and on the steps of Fishmongers' Hall.

"Between 14:03 and 14:10:27 Khan continued to move while police continued to clear the surrounding area and shouted at Khan to stay still.

"The police believed Khan was trying to find a trigger.

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"At 14:10:27 Khan sat up which was interpreted by the police as a move to detonate the device. As a result of this, officers decided to take multiple critical shots to neutralise this risk.

"These critical shots were supported by senior officers in the command centre. From 14:12:06 there was no discernible movement from Khan. He was declared dead at 15:07."

Earlier in the inquest, Ms Jones's family launched a blistering attack on event organisers, accusing them of "scant regard" for safety.

Khan at Bank station on his way to attend the prisoner rehabilitation event at the hall near London Bridge
(Image: PA)

Learning Together, an offender educational organisation associated with Cambridge University, had failed to alert the management of Fishmongers' Hall that a convicted terrorist was on the guest list, the court had heard.

Ms Jones's uncle Philip Jones issued a statement on behalf of the family after an inquest jury concluded a string of failures contributed to the deaths.

"It could be said that their single-minded view of the rehabilitation of offenders – using Usman Khan, in our view, as a 'poster boy' for their programme – significantly clouded their judgment," he said.

Khan had been released from prison 11 months earlier under strict licence conditions and was under investigation by counter-terrorism police and MI5.

But the "manipulative and duplicitous" terrorist hid his murderous intent from those tasked with keeping the public safe, the hearing was told.

He had even been described in court as a "poster boy" for Learning Together after jurors saw a "thank you" video message he had recorded.