Jack Merritt would have been “livid” to see the prime minister using his death in Friday’s London Bridge terror attack to justify stricter prison sentences, his father has said.
In a powerful article for the Guardian, Dave Merritt writes that his son, Jack, would have been disgusted with moves by the government to “further an agenda of hate”.
Jack, 25, from Cambridge, was the course coordinator of the Cambridge University’s Learning Together, a prison rehabilitation programme that was holding an event where Jack and Saskia Jones, 23, were both stabbed by 28-year-old convicted terrorist Usman Khan on Friday.
Within 48 hours of the killings, Boris Johnson had penned an article entitled “Give me a majority and I’ll keep you safe from terror,” and pledged a crackdown that was interpreted on the Daily Mail’s front page as “New blitz on freed jihadis”.
In his article, Dave Merritt wrote: “If Jack could comment on his death – and the tragic incident on Friday 29 November – he would be livid. We would see him ticking it over in his mind before a word was uttered between us. Jack would understand the political timing with visceral clarity.
“He would be seething at his death, and his life, being used to perpetuate an agenda of hate that he gave his everything fighting against. We should never forget that. What Jack would want from this is for all of us to walk through the door he has booted down, in his black Doc Martens.”
He continued: “That door opens up a world where we do not lock up and throw away the key. Where we do not give indeterminate sentences, or convict people on joint enterprise. Where we do not slash prison budgets, and where we focus on rehabilitation not revenge. Where we do not consistently undermine our public services, the lifeline of our nation. Jack believed in the inherent goodness of humanity, and felt a deep social responsibility to protect that. Through us all, Jack marches on.”