Survivors of UK terror attacks call for better government support

Many bearing mental scars claim they are now victims of authorities' failings and delays

Usman Khan being confronted by Darryn Frost, Steven Gallant and John Crilly on London Bridge in 2019. Photo: Metropolitan Police
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Survivors of an attack in which members of the public tackled a terrorist on London Bridge have called for stronger support from the UK government.

Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, were killed and three others injured by Usman Khan during a prisoner rehabilitation event at Fishmongers' Hall in 2019.

Kahn was chased by members of the public on to London Bridge, where he was shot dead by police.

Darryn Frost, who grabbed a narwhal tusk from the wall of Fishmongers' Hall and chased the terrorist out of the building, said those who survived the attack were "now victims of government failings and delays”.

"The promises made three years ago have still not been fulfilled and what that means is survivors struggling to get mental health support, bereaved families left unsupported and public venues no safer than before,” he told ITV News.

"We keep hearing excuses but it's simply not good enough."

The attack happened during the 2019 general election, when both the Conservative and Labour parties said they would consult on a Survivors' Charter and introduce Martyn's Law to improve security at public venues. Neither have been introduced to date.

A Survivors' Charter would provide guarantees to those affected by terrorist attacks, with guaranteed mental health support, financial and legal assistance.

Brendan Cox, widower of the murdered MP Jo Cox and co-founder of the group Survivors Against Terror, has called for something similar.

He told The Guardian previously: “Whenever a terror attacks happens, ministers get up and talk about how we will look after the survivors but in reality that isn’t happening.”

'Feels like I'm being treated like a criminal'

Martyn’s Law was named after Martyn Hett, who died in an attack at Manchester Arena. Survivors of the attack have also called for better support.

Paul Price, who lost his partner Elaine in the suicide bomb blast which killed 22 people, said: "I was grieving because I lost my beloved partner that night. I then spent eight months in hospital and when I came out I had to move back in with my elderly parents to start to recover.

"Five years on — despite the severity of my injuries — I have yet to receive a penny from the government's compensation scheme. All I get are constant requests for more and more medical evidence. Instead of being supported, I feel like I'm being treated like a criminal."

Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of Finsbury Park Mosque, where a terrorist attack occurred in June 2017, killing one and injuring 11, said he also felt let down by the lack of support.

"We have been so disappointed by the lack of meaningful support given to survivors and their families,” he told ITV.

"As a community we have been there for them as best as we can but the government has let us down.

"Five years on and the survivors are really struggling with poor mental health, some are still living in housing unsuitable for their needs following life-changing injuries and they are struggling to get the financial assistance and guidance they deserve."

Updated: November 30, 2022, 10:49 AM
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