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Hero Jack Merritt ‘lost his life trying to stop terror knife attack’

Lives destroyed: Jack Merritt with Leanne O’Brien, and Saskia Jones PICTURES: FACEBOOK

LONDON Bridge victim Jack Merritt was the first person to confront terrorist Usman Khan, it emerged yesterday as vigils were held to honour him.

American academic Bryonn Bain told the BBC that Jack stepped forward when Khan launched his deadly attack at a prisoner rehabilitation event on Friday.

United in grief: Leanne O’Brien flanked by (from left) Jack Merritt’s mother Anne and her own mum Mac, David Merritt and her father Jeff

Prof Bain said it ‘felt like a warzone’, adding: ‘I saw people die, I saw things that I will never be able to unsee.’

Minute’s silence: Sadiq Khan, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn at Guildhall Yard, in London

Jack’s bravery was described after his girlfriend Leanne O’Brien broke down in tears as he was honoured at Guildhall, Cambridge.

Moving: Words of sympathy for Jack and Saskia

Ms O’Brien was comforted by her own and Jack’s parents as fellow Cambridge graduate Saskia Jones was also remembered.

Mr Merritt, 25, and Ms Jones, 23, were both stabbed to death by convicted terrorist Khan, 28, during the Fishmongers’ Hall event they were supporting. At a separate vigil in Guildhall Yard, London, Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn and London mayor Sadiq Khan observed a minute’s silence.

Heartfelt: A tribute left outside Guildhall, Cambridge

In the BBC interview, Prof Bain said that former offenders at the conference ‘stepped up and intervened’ and people owed their lives to those who had previously spent time in prison.

Comfort: Friends, family and the public attended Cambridge vigil

Meanwhile, the boss of Fishmongers’ Hall described in detail the heroism of kitchen porter Lukasz who helped stop Khan.

Former naval officer commodore Toby Williamson told the BBC: ‘Lukasz is doing the washing up. He hears this spine chilling shout. As he’s first-aid trained, he goes upstairs.

‘There’s a bad guy with knives and people fighting for their lives.’ Lukasz grabbed a ‘long stick’, thought to be one of the hall’s whale tusk, and ran at the terrorist.

‘He’s buying time. He’s allowing others to crawl out the way,’ Mr Williamson added.

During a ‘one-on-one’ fight Lukasz was stabbed five times. Khan got out of the building, with Lukasz giving chase.

Respects: The vigil in Guildhall Yard, London and a tribute on the Tube (above, right) PICTURES: SWNS/PA

Members of the public helped tackle the terrorist until police arrived and shot him dead.