The 28-year-old man responsible for the terror attack in London on Friday was previously described as a “serious jihadi” who posed significant public risk.
Usman Khan, who was shot dead by armed police officers after launching a stabbing attack that resulted in at least two deaths, was one of nine men who were convicted back in 2012 of planning to attack the London Stock Exchange and building a terrorist training camp two years prior.
At the time, Khan was sentenced to serve a minimum of eight years in prison. He was released on license in December 2018, the the London Metropolitan Police confirmed.
During Khan’s 2012 sentencing, the judge ruling over the case, Justice Wilkie, singled out Khan alongside two additional al–Qaeda inspired culprits, named Mohammed Shahjahan and Nazam Hussain.
They were deemed by the judiciary to be the “more serious jihadis than the others” in the case.
“In my judgment, these offenders would remain, even after a lengthy term of imprisonment, of such a significant risk that the public could not be adequately protected by their being managed on licence in the community, subject to conditions, by reference to a preordained release date,” Justice Wilkie said, as seen in sentencing remarks.
“The safety of the public in respect of these offenders can only adequately be protected if their release on licence is decided upon, at the earliest, at the conclusion of the minimum term which I fix today,” he added, fixing a terrorism notification period of 30 years.
Khan was clearly known to authorities. The remarks were covered by the BBC at the time but have been circulating again on social media in the wake of the fresh terror attack. In 2013, an appeals court ruled his “indeterminate” sentence should be replaced with a fixed term.
“In my judgment they are more serious jihadis than the others,” Justice Wilkie continued back in 2012. “They were working to a long term agenda, no less deadly in its potential than the potential for damage and injury the subject of the short term intentions of the others.
“They were intent on obtaining training for themselves and others whom they would recruit and, as such, were working to a more ambitious and more serious jihadist agenda.”
Police were called to London Bridge at about 2 p.m. on Friday. Khan, who had been wearing a hoax explosive device, was confronted by officers within five minutes. Video taken shows him initially being contained by members of the public before armed police stormed the area.
The assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Neil Basu, said in a statement that a “key line of enquiry” would seek to establish how he carried out this attack while on license. A man and woman died during the attack. Three others were injured and are in hospital.
“The investigation into the attack near London Bridge continues at a pace,” Basu added. “Whilst we are still in the early stages of the investigation, at this time we are not actively seeking anyone else in relation to the attack. However, we continue to make fast time enquiries to ensure that no other people were involved in this attack and that there is no outstanding threat to the public.”