Vigil held for victims of London Bridge attack

Saskia Jones

A VIGIL for the victims of the London Bridge attack was held at 11am on Monday less than a mile from Friday’s attack in which Saskia Jones, 23, from Stratford-upon-Avon was stabbed to death.

The remembrance service at Guildhall Yard in the City honoured the memory of Saskia and her fellow Cambridge graduate, Jack Merritt, age 25, who was also fatally stabbed in the attack.

They were stabbed to death by convicted terrorist Usman Khan, 28, at a prisoner rehabilitation event on Friday.

Tributes have been paid to the victims of last Friday’s attack.

Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon also held a minute’s silence at the church at 11am on Monday and has opened a book of condolence.

And in a statement Stratford Town Council said: “The Mayor, members of Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council and their staff are greatly saddened by the death of Saskia Jones and would like to express their deepest sympathy and condolences to Saskia’s family and many friends. They also send the same sentiments to the family of Jack Merritt.

“The town flag will be flown at half-mast from the balcony of the Town Hall for a period of five days as a tribute to this much-respected citizen of the town.”

A statement posted by Anglia Ruskin University reads: “We are extremely sad to learn that one of our graduates, Saskia Jones, was one of the victims of the London Bridge attack on Friday.

“We are a close community and this has come as a shock to all who taught, studied and knew Saskia.

“Her commitment to her work and her achievements in such a short time are a great testament to her character and we’re very proud that she was part of the ARU community.

“Our heartfelt condolences to her, and Jack Merritt’s, family and friends at this extremely difficult time.”

Cambridge University issued its tribute as well.

“It is with great sadness that the Institute of Criminology acknowledges the deaths of both Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt who were killed in the course of events on and near London Bridge, whilst participating in a Learning Together event organised by the Institute.

“Saskia’s warm disposition and extraordinary intellectual creativity was combined with a strong belief that people who have committed criminal offences should have opportunities for rehabilitation. Though she completed her MPhil in Criminology in 2018, her determination to make an enduring and positive impact on society in everything she did led her to stay in contact with the Learning Together community.   They valued her contributions enormously and were inspired by her determination to push towards the good.

“All of us at the Institute will miss Jack’s quiet humour and rigorous intellect. His determined belief in rehabilitation inspired him to join the Institute as a staff member to work in the Learning Together research team after completing his MPhil in Criminology in 2017. Jack’s passion for social and criminal justice was infectious. He was deeply creative and courageously engaged with the world, advocating for a politics of love. He worked tirelessly in dark places to pull towards the light.

“We are grateful to other members of the Learning Together community who bravely risked their own lives to hold off the attacker until the police arrived. These men included Her Majesty’s Prisons and Probation staff and several people who have spent time in prison. They worked together, selflessly, to bring an end to this tragedy and to save further lives.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with their families, friends, and colleagues and students at the Institute and University more widely who were at the event, as well as others who were there and who have been affected and injured.”

In a statement released through the Metropolitan Police, Saskia’s family said: “Saskia was a funny, kind, positive influence at the centre of many people’s lives. She had a wonderful sense of mischievous fun and was generous to the point of always wanting to see the best in all people.

“She was intent on living life to the full and had a wonderful thirst for knowledge, enabling her to be the best she could be. “Saskia had a great passion for providing invaluable support to victims of criminal injustice, which led her to the point of recently applying for the police graduate recruitment programme, wishing to specialise in victim support.

“This is an extremely painful time for the family. Saskia will leave a huge void in our lives and we would request that our privacy is fully respected.”