London Bridge attacker Usman Khan attended two counter-terrorism programmes that had not been fully tested to see if they were effective, BBC News has discovered.
Khan, who was convicted of a terrorism offence in 2012, killed Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, on Friday.
He had completed two rehabilitation schemes during the eight years he spent in prison and following his release.
The government says such programmes are kept “under constant review”.
Three others were injured after Khan launched the attack at a prisoner rehabilitation event inside Fishmongers’ Hall near London Bridge.
Inquests into the deaths of Mr Merritt and Ms Jones were opened and adjourned at the Old Bailey on Wednesday.
The court heard that both of them died after being stabbed in the chest. The date for the full inquests is still to be decided.
City of London senior coroner Alison Hewitt also opened and adjourned the inquest into Khan, who died from multiple gunshot wounds after being shot by police.
The inquest heard that Khan had been at the venue to participate in group workshops.
During his time in prison, Khan completed a course for people convicted of extremism offences and after his release went on a scheme to address the root causes of terrorism.
The first course Khan went on, the Healthy Identity Intervention Programme, was piloted from 2010 and is now the main rehabilitation scheme for prisoners convicted of offences linked to extremism.
Last year, the Ministry of Justice published the findings of research into the pilot project which found it was “viewed positively” by a sample of those who attended and ran the course.
However, the department has not completed any work to test whether the scheme prevents reoffending or successfully tackles extremist behaviour.
There has also been no evaluation of the impact of the Desistance and Disengagement Programme, which Khan took part in after his release last year.
Government officials pointed out that the schemes have not been operating for long enough for the results to be assessed, but a spokesperson said all offender behaviour programmes were kept under constant review.
The spokesperson said: “All our offender behaviour programmes are monitored, evaluated and kept under constant review to ensure that they are effective in reducing reoffending and protecting the public.”
The Home Office “fact-sheet” on the Desistence and Disengagement programme contains eight pieces of “key information”.
But it omits the really key bit – that the programme has never been evaluated. In other words, we do not know if it works.
The same is true of the Healthy Identity Interventions course. Although the Ministry of Justice conducted a “process evaluation”, to check the pilot version was being run properly, we will not know for another two years if it is achieving results.
So, these schemes, like many other offender behaviour projects, are, in essence, experimental.
Some say the only way of knowing if they are any good is to try them out. Others argue the risks of doing that are too high, pointing to the once-flagship Sex Offender Treatment Programme, which was used for 25 years until research showed that it increased the likelihood of reoffending.
Rehabilitating convicted terrorists is as complex and challenging as it gets – but a little more openness and honesty is required about the methods that are being used.
A man who recently went through the same Desistence and Disengagement programme as Khan says the London Bridge attacker “shouldn’t have been let out of prison”.
The man – who asked to remain anonymous – was acquitted of terror charges but was required to wear an electronic tag.
Speaking to Sima Kotecha on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “I had a mentor who came to see me at least twice a week.
“As time went on the authorities saw a change within myself.”
Asked why such mentoring worked for him but not for Khan, the man said: “I wanted to make a change.
“Other people may think that [terror] is the only route because they’ve been radicalised and that’s all they know.”
He added that “anybody can manipulate” when asked whether people could convince their mentors that they have moved away from extremism.
He said: “I don’t know his character, but anybody can manipulate.”
Khan, 28, was arrested in December 2010 and sentenced in 2012 to indeterminate detention for public protection with a minimum jail term of eight years, having pleaded guilty to preparing terrorist acts.
He had been part of an al-Qaeda inspired group that considered attacks in the UK, including at the London Stock Exchange.
In 2013 the Court of Appeal quashed the sentence, replacing it with a 16-year fixed term, and ordered Khan to serve at least half this – eight years – behind bars.
Since his release from prison in December 2018, Khan had been living in Stafford and was required to wear a GPS tag.
Khan was armed with two knives and was wearing a fake suicide vest during the attack at Fishmongers’ Hall in the City of London on Friday.
He was tackled by members of the public, including ex-offenders from the conference, before he was shot dead by police.
Porter ‘acted instinctively’
Among those praised for their bravery during the attack was a porter – known as Lukasz – who tried to fight Khan at Fishmongers’ Hall.
He issued a statement through Scotland Yard on Tuesday, saying that contrary to some reports, he had used a pole to tackle Khan while someone else used a narwhal tusk.
“The man attacked me, after which he left the building,” he said. “A number of us followed him out but I stopped at the bollards of the bridge. I had been stabbed and was later taken to hospital to be treated.”
He said he was “thankful” that he had now returned home.
“When the attack happened, I acted instinctively,” he said. “I am now coming to terms with the whole traumatic incident and would like the space to do this in privacy, with the support of my family.”
He wanted to express his condolences to the families who had “lost precious loved ones”, he added, as well as sending his best wishes to “everyone affected by this sad and pointless attack”.
Two women were also injured in the attack. They remain in a stable condition in hospital.
Middlesex have re-signed Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman for next season’s Twenty20 Blast campaign.
The 18-year-old took seven wickets in 10 games last season and will be available for all 14 of their group stage matches in 2020.
Mujeeb made his debut for his country at the age of 16 and featured in this year’s World Cup.
“I enjoyed my time at Middlesex so much, so I am very pleased to be coming back,” he said.
Meanwhile, the club have awarded England’s World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan a testimonial year in 2020.
The 33-year-old made his debut for the county’s first XI in 2005.
Jose Mourinho has been appointed Tottenham manager after the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino on Tuesday.
Former Chelsea and Manchester United boss Mourinho has signed a contract until the end of the 2022-23 season.
“The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me,” said the 56-year-old Portuguese. “Working with these players is what has attracted me.”
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said: “In Jose we have one of the most successful managers in football.”
Mourinho will hold his first news conference as Tottenham boss at 14:00 GMT on Thursday.
Lille coaches Joao Sacramento and Nuno Santos will join his backroom team, the French club have confirmed.
Tottenham reached the Champions League final last season under Pochettino, but lost 2-0 to Liverpool in Madrid.
The Argentine, who was appointed in May 2014, did not win a trophy in his time in charge of the north London club, with Spurs’ last silverware being the League Cup in 2008.
Levy said Mourinho has “a wealth of experience, can inspire teams and is a great tactician”.
“He has won honours at every club he has coached,” he added. “We believe he will bring energy and belief to the dressing room.”
Mourinho still has a home in London and won three Premier League titles – in 2005, 2006 and 2015 – as well as one FA Cup in two spells at Chelsea.
Having taken over at Manchester United in May 2016, he won the Europa League and Carabao Cup with them in 2017.
Mourinho was sacked by the Old Trafford club in December 2018, with the club 19 points behind league leaders Liverpool, and had not managed another side before joining Spurs.
He has also previously managed Portuguese side Porto, where he won the Champions League in 2004.
At Italian club Inter Milan, Mourinho won a league, cup and Champions League treble in 2010 and was named Fifa’s world coach of the year, while he led Spanish team Real Madrid to the La Liga title in 2012.
He takes over a Spurs side that are without a win in their past five games and have slipped to 14th in the Premier League, 20 points behind leaders Liverpool after just 12 matches.
Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust had said “many fans thought Poch had earned the right” to try to turn around the side’s form and that “there are questions that must be asked of the board”.
Following Mourinho’s appointment, it said it had “concerns about how Jose and our club’s executive board will work together”.
It added: “The club must ensure it does not find itself in the same position in two or three years’ time, and we need to hear from the executive board what the long-term thinking behind this appointment is.”
Mourinho’s first match in charge is a trip to West Ham United on Saturday (12:30 GMT kick-off).
Spurs go to Manchester United on 4 December, and host another of Mourinho’s former teams – Chelsea – on 22 December.
Mourinho has turned down a number of managerial opportunities, including in China, Spain and Portugal, since leaving Old Trafford.
BBC sports editor Dan Roan
Spurs have never hired a manager as expensive or demanding as Mourinho, nor spent the kind of money on players that he became accustomed to at clubs such as Real Madrid and Manchester United.
But Spurs have come a long way in recent years under Pochettino. They have a new £1bn stadium and training ground, and spent four successive seasons in the Champions League.
They now have a European pedigree, and a hugely talented squad.
Mourinho has been out of the game for almost a year but retained a home in London.
His tribulations at Manchester United saw him lose his ‘Special One’ status, but his many achievements in the game still command widespread respect.
An “angry pig” confronted engineers in a London street, delaying their repair of a burst water main before it was led away with a bag of crisps.
The pipe burst on Lamberts Road, Surbiton, damaging nearby railway equipment, which caused train delays.
Thames Water said their efforts to reach a valve to cut the water were initially hindered by “a large pig” which was “acting aggressively”.
It is not known what flavour crisps were used to lead it away.
Damage caused by the flooding of tracks and signalling equipment meant limited trains have been able to run along the line.
Disruption is currently expected to last until 16:00 GMT although Network Rail said engineers were carrying out inspections.
Thames Water said engineers “were quickly on site” to deal with the burst 120cm (48 in) pipe, but they had been unable to initially carry out the work because of the pig, which is thought to be someone’s pet.
A second man has admitted trying to rob Arsenal footballers Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac in a moped ambush.
Jordan Northover, 26, pleaded guilty at Harrow Crown Court to attempting to steal watches from the pair in Hampstead, north-west London.
His co-accused Ashley Smith, 30, of Archway in North London, admitted his role in the crime in October.
CCTV footage showed Bosnian defender Kolasinac chasing off the two masked attackers on 25 July
In the video, that circulated on social media, 26-year-old Kolasinac is seen fighting off two men who are wielding knives.
He can be seen jumping out of a vehicle to confront the masked men who had pulled alongside the car on mopeds.
In the footage, both carjackers were seen to be armed and were filmed brandishing knives at full-back Kolasinac.
World Cup winner Özil can also be seen in his black Mercedes G class jeep before he reportedly took refuge in a Turkish restaurant.
Kolasinac and Germany midfielder Özil were left out of the Arsenal side ahead of the opening weekend of the Premier League campaign after the incident.
Judge Rosa Dean said Smith would be sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on Friday.
Northover will be sentenced at a later date.
Özil told the Athletic sports site that he was scared for his wife Amine as the attackers pursued his car.
“Sead’s reaction was really, really brave because he attacked one of the attackers,” he said.
“I tried to move the car, block them, escape, but each time they would be there. My wife was extremely scared.”
A survivors’ group has welcomed a report on the Grenfell Tower fire, calling for the government to treat its response as “a national emergency”.
The report, published on Wednesday, followed the first phase of an inquiry, looking at what happened on the night of 14 June 2017, when 72 people died.
It was critical of the London Fire Brigade’s response and said the tower did not meet building regulations.
The LFB said it was “disappointed” by some of the criticism of individuals.
Campaign group Grenfell United said the report showed “the immediate and real dangers” of “highly combustible cladding and insulation”.
“Lives are at risk and the government need to treat this as a national emergency,” the group said.
The report made 46 recommendations, including improvements in training for fire brigade staff and the development of national guidelines for evacuating high-rise buildings.
Grenfell United called for the recommendations to be implemented in full, saying they would save lives.
The report condemned the LFB for “serious shortcomings” and systemic failures in its response to the fire.
Inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick said the absence of a plan to evacuate the tower was a “major omission” by the LFB and more lives could have been saved had the “stay-put” policy been abandoned sooner.
Grenfell United responded: “It is heartbreaking to read that more of our loved ones could have been saved that night if the building was evacuated earlier.”
At an emotional press conference, relatives of 20 victims of the fire called for an overhaul of the LFB, saying its leadership should resign and even face prosecution.
Nazanin Aghlani, who lost two family members in the fire, said some firefighters displayed a “serious lack of common sense” and failed to see “what was so vivid in front of them”.
“If a fire happened tonight the same thing would happen again,” she said.
‘Too little too late’
The report said evidence from London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton that she would not have changed anything about the brigade’s response was “insensitive”.
Ms Cotton said many of the recommendations were welcome and would be “carefully considered”.
She expressed her “deepest sorrow at not being able to save all those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire”.
She added: “We welcome the chairman’s recognition of the courage, commitment and bravery of firefighters on the night, but we are disappointed at some of the criticism of individual staff members who were placed in completely unprecedented circumstances and faced the most unimaginable conditions while trying to save the lives of others.”
However, Natasha Elcock, chairwoman of Grenfell United who was rescued with her six-year-old daughter from the 11th floor, said Dany Cotton’s statement was “too little too late”.
“She stood up in the inquiry, in a room full of bereaved and survivors and said there’s nothing she would do to change that night,” she told the BBC.
“If she’d expressed that sorrow that day in that room, that potentially would have washed with us today.”
Grenfell United expressed concern at the report’s finding that the LFB were “at risk of not learning the lessons from Grenfell”, adding that firefighters were “let down by their training, procedures, equipment and leadership”.
Other issues highlighted in the report included:
- A lack of training in how to “recognise the need for an evacuation or how to organise one”
- Incident commanders “of relatively junior rank” being unable to change strategy
- Control room officers lacking training on when to advise callers to evacuate
- An assumption that crews would reach callers, resulting in “assurances which were not well founded”
- Communication between the control room and those on the ground being “improvised, uncertain and prone to error”
- A lack of an organised way to share information within the control room, meaning officers had “no overall picture of the speed or pattern of fire spread”
In the House of Commons, MPs held a minutes’ silence to remember victims of the fire, before a debate on the inquiry.
Boris Johnson told MPs that survivors and the bereaved had been “overlooked and ignored” before the fire and “shamefully failed” afterwards.
The second phase of the inquiry will focus on wider circumstances of the fire, including the design of the building.
While this was not the focus of the first phase, the report found there was “compelling evidence” external walls of the building failed to comply with building regulations and “actively promoted” the spread of fire.
It said the principal reason the flames shot up the building so fiercely was the combustible aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding with polyethylene cores which acted as a “source of fuel”.
Grenfell United said the second phase of the inquiry “must now focus on where responsibility for the devastating refurbishment [of the building] lies”, with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the tenant management organisation and the companies involved facing “serious questions”.
A killer once dubbed one of Britain’s most wanted fugitives has been jailed for at least 26 years.
Shane O’Brien, 31, evaded police for three-and-a-half years after he slashed Josh Hanson’s neck in Hillingdon, west London, on 11 October 2015.
He fled the UK, changed his appearance and moved around Europe before his extradition from Romania in April.
O’Brien, who jurors found guilty of murder last month, was given a life sentence at the Old Bailey.
CCTV released during the trial showed 21-year-old Mr Hanson clutching his neck and stumbling as blood poured out of a 37cm (14.5in) wound.
‘Abrupt, vicious, violent’
After the killing, jurors heard, O’Brien was seen “calmly” walking out of the bar.
He made his way to Ashford, Kent, where a contact had chartered a private four-seater plane to take him to the Netherlands.
The killer grew a beard and long hair and changed his tattoos as he travelled through countries including Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic, the court was told.
In 2017, the father-of-two was arrested over a dispute in a Prague nightclub but gave police a false name and fled while on bail.
The trial heard the 31-year-old was added to Europol and Interpol’s most wanted lists but still managed to lay low.
However, he was eventually caught by Romanian authorities after he contacted Scotland Yard to arrange a possible meeting, the jury heard.
Sentencing the father-of-two, Judge Nigel Lickley QC called it “a grotesque, violent and totally unnecessary attack on an innocent man”.
“The reason why you behaved in such a way may never be fully explained. You, however, know the reason,” he said.
In a victim impact statement, Mr Hanson’s mother Tracey described her son as being “considerate, kind and generous”.
“He was taken from us in the most horrific way possible – suddenly, abruptly, viciously and violently,” she said.
The victim’s sister, Brooke, said the 21-year-old “was not just my brother, he was my best friend”, and described his “infectious smile” and “magical presence”.
She told the court she had suffered from anxiety and post-traumatic stress since the killing and found herself always wondering if she could have protected him from the “evil” that took him away.
During the trial, O’Brien had claimed he felt threatened by Mr Hanson’s “very aggressive body language” and had only meant to scare his victim.
There were angry shouts of “coward” from the public gallery as he was led away from the dock.
A 15-year-old has been charged with conspiring to murder a schoolboy who was stabbed to death in the street.
Baptista Adjei, also 15, from North Woolwich, was attacked on Stratford Broadway, east London, on 10 October.
Police have charged another 15-year-old boy with murder, GBH and two counts of possessing an offensive weapon.
The latest suspect will appear at Stratford Youth Court later, Scotland Yard said.
Some 50 households had to stay in emergency accommodation overnight after a burst water main flooded homes in north London.
About 250 properties including two schools were affected after a 36-inch (91cm) water pipe fractured in Finsbury Park before 08:00 BST on Tuesday.
One man was rescued from a basement while others had to be led to safety.
Thames Water said a temporary fix had been put in place and all flood water had been pumped away.
The water main burst at the junction of Queens Drive and Princess Crescent causing an area measuring about 600m x 200m (1,900ft x 650ft) to be flooded to a depth of about 1m (3ft).
About 12 fire engines and 80 firefighters were deployed to help rescue people and pump water away, while postcode areas N1, N4, N5, N7 and N19 were left with no water or low water pressure.
Tanja Schnitzer, who lives in a basement flat on Queens Drive, said rooms in the property had filled up with water “within half an hour from floor to ceiling”.
“It’s devastating. We’ve pretty much lost everything,” she said.
Water supplies for most properties in the area have been restored but Thames Water said air locks in the system meant some residents were still experiencing problems.
A spokesman for the firm said bottled water and plumbers were on standby in case of issues while engineers would finish fixing the mains during the day.
Woodberry Down Primary School remains shut but Parkwood Primary School has reopened.
Queens Drive, between Brownswood Road and Seven Sisters Road, has been closed to traffic.
Banksy has opened a “pop-up” shop in south London featuring the stab vest he designed for Stormzy’s headline act at the Glastonbury Festival.
A Tony the Tiger rug and a cradle surrounded by CCTV cameras are also on show as part of the venture, at a disused retail outlet in Croydon.
“I’m opening a shop today,” the artist said on Instagram. “Although the doors don’t actually open.”