Prisoner who fought London Daesh attacker to have sentence reduced

A convicted murderer who confronted Daesh terrorist Usman Khan during last year’s London Bridge attack is to have his sentence reduced. (File/AFP)
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Updated 18 October 2020

Prisoner who fought London Daesh attacker to have sentence reduced

  • It is not a pardon, but his 17-year sentence will be reduced by 10 months
  • Gallant was on day release during the attack last November, and could apply for parole in June next year

LONDON: A convicted murderer who confronted Daesh terrorist Usman Khan during last year’s London Bridge attack is to have his sentence reduced.
Steven Gallant has been granted the royal prerogative of murder, a rare tool of British law that allows for the absolution for a convicted murderer.
It is not a pardon, but his 17-year sentence will be reduced by 10 months. He was on day release during the attack last November, and could apply for parole in June next year.
Gallant was convicted for the murder of firefighter Barrie Jackson, who was attacked outside of a pub in northern England. Gallant targeted Jackson after he was acquitted for the attempted murder of a 64-year-old prostitute.
At the time of his death, Jackson was preparing to attend court to give evidence regarding an accusation of intimidating witnesses to his assault on Rosaleena Capell.
Jackson’s family have backed the decision to free the murderer early. His son Jack said: “I have mixed emotions — but what happened at London Bridge goes to show the reality that people can change.” He added that he would not rule out meeting Gallant.
On the day of the attack last year, Khan was alongside Gallant at a prisoner rehabilitation conference called Learning Together.
When Khan brandished two knives and attacked organizers Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones, Gallant used an ornamental narwhal tusk from the venue as a weapon.
He chased Khan out of the building and onto the bridge, where Khan was shot dead by police after he revealed what appeared to be an explosive vest, but later turned out to be a decoy.
Following the attack, Gallant said he “didn’t hesitate” to confront Khan. “I could tell something was wrong and had to help. I saw injured people. Khan was stood in the foyer with two large knives in his hands. He was a clear danger to all,” he said.
Referring to his murder conviction, Gallant said: “It is right I was handed a severe penalty for my actions. Once I’d accepted my punishment, I decided to seek help. When you go to prison, you lose control of your life. Bettering yourself becomes one of the few things you can do while reducing the existing burden on society.”
Neil Hudgell, Gallant’s solicitor, said: “Steve feels a debt of gratitude to all those who helped him to achieve a royal prerogative of mercy. He is passionate about using his knowledge and experiences to help others steer away from crime.”


Man who spoke to Manchester bomber was ignored by security, inquiry hears

Updated 13 min 29 sec ago

Man who spoke to Manchester bomber was ignored by security, inquiry hears

  • Christopher Wild said he accosted Salman Abedi before he committed fatal terror attack
  • Salman Abedi would later detonate an explosive device inside Manchester Arena, killing 22 people

LONDON: A parent who spoke to a man he suspected was a terrorist at a music venue in the UK, before a fatal attack was carried out, has said his concerns were ignored by security.

Christopher Wild was at the Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017, to pick up his 14-year-old daughter and her friend after attending an Ariana Grande concert when he saw a man who he thought could “let a bomb off” with a rucksack hiding on a mezzanine.

The man, Salman Abedi, would later detonate an explosive device inside the arena, killing 22 people.

Wild was speaking at a public inquiry into the attack, which is taking evidence on events in the build up and aftermath of the tragedy.

He said he was waiting with his partner Julie Whitley and said: “I just thought he could be very dangerous.”

He said he had spotted Abedi with a rucksack, and his partner had said to him: “It’s a kids’ concert. Why should he be sat there with a massive rucksack out of sight of everyone? It’s just very strange.”

Wild added: “I started to think about things that happened in the world and I just thought he could be very dangerous.”

He said he addressed Abedi despite feeling “a bit bad” for thinking he might be a terrorist. Wild said he asked him: “It doesn’t look very good you know, what you see with bombs and such, you with a rucksack in a place like this. What are you doing?”

He said Abedi responded: “I’m waiting for somebody mate. Have you got the time? What time is it?”

Wild added that he then approached Mohammed Agha, an event steward at the venue who was in the foyer below the mezzanine.

“He (Agha) said he already knew about him. That was about it really,” Wild said. “It was as if he had more important things to deal with — but in no way do I blame him because the guy was already in there. There was nothing more he could do.”

Whitley was badly injured in the explosion. She told the inquiry that Abedi’s rucksack had caught her eye because it was “massive,” and she believed he might have been a “dodgy merchandiser.”