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More than 70 terror attack survivors call for ‘Martyn’s law’

Terror attack survivors and relatives of those killed have penned an impassioned letter urging the government not to politicise the London Bridge attack and to focus instead on protecting victims’ rights. 

Survivors and relatives who lost loved ones in atrocities including the 2015 Tunisia attack, the 2015 Bataclan attack and Manchester Arena bombing in 2017 have called upon politicians to implement a new ‘survivors’ charter’. 

Signatories include the daughter of Sir Anthony Berry, who died in the IRA Brighton attack in 1984, Brendan Cox, whose wife MP Jo Fox was killed in 2016, and the mother of Martyn Hett, who died in Manchester Arena. 

The mother of Martyn Hett, who was killed in the Manchester Arena bombing, is among those calling on the government to pass Martyn’s Law, which would mandate all owners of events spaces to have in place a basic security plan

The scene outside the Manchester Arena after a bomb was set off in May, 2017

The scene outside the Manchester Arena after a bomb was set off in May, 2017 

Saskia Jones

Jack Merritt

Former University of Cambridge students Saskia Jones, 23, (left) and Mr Merritt, 25, (right) were fatally stabbed during a prisoner rehabilitation event on Friday

‘Don’t give terrorists what they want’: Survivors and relatives pen letter in the wake of latest terror attack 

In an open letter published in The Telegraph, the 69 signatories wrote: ‘Friday’s attack was an assault attack on innocent people going about their business. We who have been injured, or who have lost loved ones in terror attacks, know what those families will be going through. Our thoughts and love are with them. We would also like to thank the heroes who stopped the attack from continuing on Friday.

‘As survivors, we know how important it is that we all learn lessons from such attacks.

‘The first request is for the public. Don’t give the terrorists what they want. Don’t share their videos and views, and don’t blame whole groups for their actions or give in to feelings of hate. Many of us have felt supported by public solidarity and kindness, and it helps more than you can know.

‘The second request is for the media. Let the victims grieve and recover in private, and refrain from constantly sharing the goriest stories or splashing the attackers’ pictures on the front pages. Not only does this play into the hands of terrorists, it compounds the survivors’ suffering.

‘The third request is for politicians. We are sick of promises to look after victims, who then face months of delay for mental health support or years of waiting for compensation. We ask all parties to consult on and implement a new “survivors’ charter” that would guarantee them basic rights and services.

‘Finally, we ask that you pass Martyn’s Law, which would mandate all owners of events spaces to have in place a basic security plan.’

In their open letter they tell politicians: ‘We are sick of promises to look after victims, who then face months of delay for mental health support or years of waiting for compensation.’ 

They ask MPs to implement ‘Martyn’s Law.’ 

The mother of Manchester bomb attack victim Martyn Hett has been campaigning for the law in honour of her son to protect future concertgoers.

Figen Murray, who lost the 29-year-old in the terror attack which happened at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in 2017, wants to make sure no other families ever have to worry about their children not returning home from a concert.

‘Martyn’s Law’ calls for a dramatic overhaul of security at concert venues with mandatory bag searches and metal detectors.

The letter comes amid an extraordinary blame game between political parties over the latest tragedy in London Bridge last week. 

Both Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn have been roundly criticised for using the attack as a ‘campaigning tool’. 

Boris Johnson yesterday denied exploiting the London Bridge terror attack despite a a backlash from the father of one of the victims.

The Prime Minister defended launching a crackdown on the treatment of convicted terrorists after 28-year-old Usman Khan went on a rampage while out of prison on licence.

Former University of Cambridge students Saskia Jones, 23, and Jack Merritt, 25, were fatally stabbed during a prisoner rehabilitation event on Friday.

The family of Mr Merritt, from Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, asked that his death not be used to justify introducing ‘even more draconian sentences’ on offenders in a heartfelt tribute. 

In a searing rebuke, Mr Merritt’s father David, an estates manager at a sixth form college and Labour activist, hit back: ‘Don’t use my son’s death, and his and his colleague’s photos – to promote your vile propaganda.

‘Jack stood against everything you stand for – hatred, division, ignorance.’

Jeremy Corbyn also made a speech on the terrorism threat, saying Western aggression and austerity was responsible for fuelling the problems, and convicted terrorists should ‘not necessarily’ serve their full sentences.

Mr Merritt has been retweeting messages urging politicians against knee-jerk reactions to the attack. 

Tributes on London Bridge in the aftermath of the horrendous terror attack

Tributes on London Bridge in the aftermath of the horrendous terror attack 

Jack Merritt (pictured centre) was one of the victims of the London Bridge terror attack. His father David (left) has condemned politicisation of the attack

Jack Merritt (pictured centre) was one of the victims of the London Bridge terror attack. His father David (left) has condemned politicisation of the attack 

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn (pictured centre and right at a vigil in the capital today) have been involved in an extraordinary blame game over the London Bridge attack

London Bridge killer Usman Khan is pictured here in 2008

London Bridge killer Usman Khan is pictured here in 2008 

Khan, who was living in Stafford, was given permission to travel into the heart of London by police and the probation service.

Convicted of terror offences in February 2012, he was released from prison on licence in December 2018, halfway through his 16-year prison sentence.

But the Tories and Labour have been clashing bitterly over who was responsible for the failure in the systems.

Mr Johnson has argued that the Labour government failed to bolster laws after ‘indeterminate” sentences were ruled illegal by the courts.

But Mr Corbyn has pointed to cuts in rehabilitation services and said police numbers should rise.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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