Murderer on day release who foiled London Bridge terrorist is pardoned by Queen – Mirror Online
A jailed killer who helped foil the London Bridge terror attack has been pardoned by the Queen.
Steven Gallant was on day release last November when he risked his life to stop terrorist Usman Khan’s killing spree by chasing him down with a whale tusk, saving countless lives.
The convicted killer who heroically risked his life to stop London Bridge terrorist Usman Khan with a narwhal tusk has been granted a pardon by the Queen.
The Royal Prerogative of Mercy granted by Her Majesty on the advice of her Government is unprecedented for a jailed murderer.
It means Gallant, 42, will have 10 months knocked off the 17-year sentence handed to him in 2005 – and he could now go before a Parole Board next June to rubber stamp his freedom.
Gallant looked on Jack as a friend. He was killed by terrorist Khan (Image: PA)
The move could have sparked controversy but for the immense dignity of the family of firefighter Barrie Jackson, who Gallant battered to death outside a pub – the decision to free the murderer early has been backed by his victim’s family.
Jackson’s student son Jack, 21, said tonight: “I have mixed emotions – but what happened at London Bridge goes to show the reality that people can change.”
He even said he might be willing to meet his dad’s killer one day.
Gallant was on his first day release at a Learning Together conference set up to help rehabilitate prisoners when the attack took place last November.
Gallant – circled – and heroes face Khan on bridge (Image: KETTS NEWS)
He was in the Fishmongers Hall next to London Bridge along with his former prison mentor, friend and conference co-ordinator Jack Merritt, 25.
Convicted terrorist Khan, 28, had also been invited to the event as a rehabilitating offender out on licence, despite being jailed in 2012 for planning to bomb the London stock exchange
After Khan produced two knives and went berserk killing Jack and his fellow co-ordinator Saskia Jones, 23 – both Cambridge graduates – Gallant was handed an ornamental five-foot narwhal tusk from a wall by civil servant pal David Frost to use as a weapon.
Gallant battered Barrie Jackson to death
He chased the terrorist on to the bridge where Khan was shot dead by police.
Afterwards, Gallant said he “didn’t hesitate” to confront Khan.
In a statement released through his solicitor, he said: “I could tell something was wrong and had to help.
“I saw injured people. Khan was stood in the foyer with two large knives in his hands. He was a clear danger to all.”
Last night Jack’s father David, 55, of Cottenham in Cambridgeshire, said: “Steve fully deserves this pardon, or reduction in sentence.
Terrorist Khan was shot by police (Image: Cliff Hide/LNP)
“It is fantastic.
“He was very close to Jack and he turned his life around and reformed.
“I am really pleased for him.”
The two had met previously through Jack’s role at rehabilitation service Learning Together in 2016.
He mentored Gallant behind bars. Gallant described him as a “role model and friend”.
Referring to his conviction for murder, Gallant said: “It is right I was handed a severe penalty for my actions.
“Once I’d accepted my punishment, I decided to seek help.
“When you go to prison, you lose control of your life.
“Bettering yourself becomes one of the few things you can do while reducing the existing burden on society.”
Now he has been given a rare second chance.
Saskia Jones was working with Jack when she was killed (Image: AFP via Getty Images)
The last murderer to be given a Royal pardon was nearly 25 years ago when former IRA leader Sean O’Callaghan, who died in 2017 aged 63, was freed.
He had been jailed in 1988 for killing a female soldier and male colleague in a 1974 mortar bomb attack.
But he had also been a police informer and claimed to have thwarted a plot to murder Charles and Diana in the 1980s.
He was released as part of a Royal Prerogative of Mercy by the Queen in 1996.
Lukasz Koczocik, Polish chef and hero of the London Bridge terror attack
The most high-profile royal pardon was awarded posthumously to Alan Turing in 2013, overturning the wartime codebreaker’s 1952 gross indecency conviction for a then-illegal homosexual relationship.
Royal insiders say the Queen “acts on the advice of Her Majesty’s Government” when signing off such pardons.
Yesterday Gallant’s victim’s son Jack said he had had “no idea about the pardon” for his father’s killer.
Gallant had been among a gang who battered his dad Barrie to death outside The Dolphin pub in Hull in April 2005.
Terrorist Khan was killed on London Bridge by armed police (Image: WEST MIDLANDS POLICE HANDOUT HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX)
It was so savage paramedics who tried to revive him couldn’t find his mouth.
A court heard Gallant planned the assault believing Barrie had attacked his girlfriend eight days before.
Jack said: “In my mind, Gallant has nearly done his time and if someone has undergone rehabilitation and change, which it seems he has, then it’s fair enough.
Every time his name is mentioned it brings back memories for me, my brother and mum but it happened years ago.
“I was four at the time.”
John Crilly was another hero of London Bridge (Image: TIM ANDERSON)
The Queen’s gift is her mercy (Image: Getty Images)
Asked if he would consider meeting Gallant, Jack said: “Maybe. I wouldn’t rule it out.”
Last night Gallant spoke through his solicitor, Neil Hudgell, who said: “Steve feels a debt of gratitude to all those who helped him to achieve a Royal Prerogative of Mercy.
“He is passionate about using his knowledge and experiences to help others steer away from crime.”