The London Bridge attacker Usman Khan was tackled by ex-offenders who had been invited to a conference on rehabilitation after he started ‘lashing out’, it has emerged.
Khan had previously participated in Cambridge University’s Learning Together prisoner rehabilitation programme but had showed ‘no cause for concern,’ a source with knowledge of the programme said.
According to the source, some of those involved in tackling Khan were ex-offenders.
They, along with Khan, had been invited to attend the conference at Fishmongers’ Hall after having previously participated in the programme.
There were also two tour guides, who were not at the event, involved and it is not yet clear how many others joined them on the bridge with other brave members of the public.
It is understood that Khan started ‘lashing out’ in a downstairs room of the hall but was grabbed by the conference-goers and bundled out of the front door as he tried to go upstairs.
Members of the public were seen cornering the terrorist on London Bridge this afternoon
Two people were killed and up to twelve were injured after Usman Khan, 28, attacked innocent people on the north side of London Bridge just before 2pm.
Video footage showed the attacker running across London Bridge wielding two kitchen knives.
Several members of the public chase Khan, before tackling him and disarming him.
One man used a fire extinguisher while another man ripped the tusk of a Narwhal whale off a wall and jabbed it in the direction of the attacker.
Thomas Gray (left) and Stevie Hurst (right), who both work at Small Car Big City, were two of the heroes who came together to disarm the attacker
Another of those who intervened in the attack on Friday was James Ford (right) – a convicted murderer who was out on day release. One brave man, later confirmed to be a British Transport Police officer, ran across the road to tackle the knifeman
The terrorist was then bundled to the ground as other people waded in, while another man hurried away with his knife.
One witness at the scene said the man carrying the tusk had taken it from Fishmongers’ Hall and ran out with it after learning of the incident.
Other heroes included a tour guide who helped disarm Khan.
Thomas Gray, 24, and a colleague had just finished lunch in Borough Market when Khan went on his rampage.
The pair, who had been driving tourists around the capital in classic Mini Coopers, had been travelling over London Bridge to pick up some more customers at a hotel when they saw the knifeman being pinned to the floor.
Mr Gray and his colleague then bravely got out of their vehicles to help, as three other men attempted to keep the attacker on the ground.
Another man who dived in to help was convicted murderer James Ford.
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Now 42, Ford was jailed for life – with a minimum of 15 years – in April 2004 for the murder of a 21-year-old with learning difficulties.
Amanda Champion – who had the mental age of a 15-year-old – was found strangled and with her throat cut on waste ground near her home in Ashford, Kent, the previous July.
Yesterday, he tackled Khan and was one of the people who fought to save the lives of his victims.
Tour guide Stevie Hurst also helped restrain the attacker, kicking him in the head.
He said: ‘We saw a guy being accosted to the floor
‘Everyone was just on top of him trying to bundle him to the ground. We saw that the knife was still in his hand… I just put a foot in to try and kick him in the head.
‘We were trying to do as much as we could to try and dislodge the knife from his hand so he wouldn’t harm anyone else.
‘The guys that were there were absolutely amazing. Heroes beyond belief.’
The attacker was thought to have had one of the two knives strapped to his arm and had also been wearing a fake explosives device, which was strapped around his waist.
Around six members of the public worked to disarm the attacker after he went on a rampage outside Bank station and Fishmongers’ Hall on the north side of the bridge, killing two. Tha man pictured took a knife from the attacker
One man pointed a Narwhal tusk at the terrorist while another sprayed the fire extinguisher at him
He was a convicted terrorist who had served time in prison and was wearing an electronic tag at the time of the attack.
The paper added he was attending a Cambridge University conference on prisoner rehabilitation being held at Fishmongers’ Hall and ‘threatened to blow up’ the building.
Speaking to MailOnline, one witness said more shots had been fired after the terrorist was shot.
Deborah Simmons had been attending a hospital appointment with her mother and had been on the first bus on the bridge, heading towards Liverpool Street.
Deborah, who is in her 50s said she saw the man being shot and was then ushered off the bus towards The Shard.
‘We all thought we were going to die, there were people with children running’.
She added that once her and her mother had reached the south of the bridge she heard around 10-15 shots. She also said that one man had ran up to her and her mother, claiming ‘someone had a shooter’.
The Met police were unable to clarify whether or not extra shots had been fired.
The brave people who chased the terrorist pulled him down to the floor and waited for police to arrive
Police and emergency vehicles gather at Leadenhall near London Bridge as the force continued to deal with the fall out of this afternoon’s attack
Metropolitan Police Chief Cressida Dick confirmed this evening that two stabbing victims had died and three injured people were being treated in a hospital.
After the brave bystanders tackled the man to the ground police intervened, pulling the heroes off the terrorist and getting them to safety.
The officers were then seen lining up in close range of the man, before he was shot.
The violence erupted two-and-a-half years after a van and knife attack in the same area killed eight people, and less than two weeks before Britain holds a national election.
The incident started close to London’s main financial hub where thousands of bankers and finance workers travel every day.
It started outside Grade II listed building Fishmongers’ Hall. Many buildings in the financial district were on high security this afternoon as roads were closed in the area, many workers were also stood outside their buildings as officers cordoned off the roads.
Extra police officers will be on patrol across London in the wake of the attack, while British Transport Police said there also would be more officers on the transport network including firearms officers and other specialist teams.
Armed police were seen patrolling the streets early this evening with emergency vehicles being parked up on both sides of the road
Forensic officers are seen near the site of the incident early this evening. One office seems to be holding a light up while the other takes a picture
In a show of solidarity to those who lost their lives and were caught up in the attack the main political parties temporarily suspended campaigning in London as a mark of respect.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that ‘to the best of our knowledge, the incident has been contained’ but that details were still emerging.
Johnson’s office said the prime minister would chair a meeting of the government’s emergency committee, COBRA, on Friday evening.
The map above shows the the journey the attacker took from the north side of London Bridge before crossing over
Two young women were seen running near Borough Market today after learning of the attack
One man used a Narwhal tusk to fight off the attacker which he had taken from Fishmongers’ Hall
Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Neil Basu said the suspect appeared to be wearing a bomb vest but it turned out to be ‘a hoax explosive device.’
Basu said officers were keeping ‘an open mind as to any motive.’
‘A number of other people received injuries during this incident. As soon as we can provide further updates on their condition, we will,’ he told the press conference.
‘Our heartfelt sympathies go out to everybody who has been involved in this and is anxiously waiting for information on their loved ones.
‘As soon as we can get that information, we will get it to you.’
A large police cordon remains in place around the north side of London Bridge following the knife attack.
Pedestrian and vehicle access along Upper Thames Street, which runs underneath part of the bridge, is blocked by police at its junction with Swan Lane through to Lower Thames Street at its junction with Fish Hill Street.
The pedestrian cordon extends north-east to Fenchurch Street, at its junction with Philpot Lane, and north to Gracechurch Street, at its junction with Bell Inn Yard.
On the northwest side on the bridge, the pedestrian cordon extends to Cannon Street at its junction with Bush Lane. Monument Station, which is within the cordon, remains closed.