June 7, 2021 Faith Matters

Timeline: Usman Khan’s path to murder

Usman Khan’s path to his death on London Bridge at the hands of police marksmen followed a long history of involvement in extremism.

He killed his two victims at Fishmongers’ Hall at an event which had been intended to celebrate prisoners who had taken steps on the path to reform.

Here is a timeline of his life which ended after his fatal journey to London.

– March 10 1991: Usman Khan is born in Stoke-on-Trent.

– 2008 Khan begins preaching on behalf of terrorist organisation al-Muhajiroun in his home town, and distributing extremist leaflets. The house where he is staying is raided by police, but no action follows.

– 2010: Aged 19, Khan is convicted of terrorism offences for his role trying to set up an extremist training camp in Pakistan and spends the next eight years in jail.

– January 2011: While behind bars, Khan suggests he has access to a weapon and would “do someone in the eye or neck” and wants to die and go to paradise.

– March 2011: Khan and others are involved in an attack on another prisoner to shouts of “Allahu Akbar”.

– November 2011: He shouts during the two-minute silence for Armistice Day.

– June 2012: Khan recites a poem which includes the line “cut off the kuffar’s (non-believer’s) head”.

– May 2013: A stockpile of chemicals is found in Khan’s cell which would not have been capable of making a bomb but is still considered “very concerning” by prison staff.

– November 2013: A Church of England chaplain is injured during an assault by Khan on another prisoner. On the same day, a razor blade is found in Khan’s cell.

– March 2017: Now at HMP Whitemoor, Khan talks about his Muslim faith with Michael Adebowale, who murdered Fusilier Lee Rigby.

– June 2017: Khan is considered to be an “influential” terrorist prisoner involved in “extremist bullying”.

– August 2017: He is reported as laughing or cheering about the Barcelona terror attack.

– November 2017: He applies for his first course with Learning Together, studying creative writing. He goes on to complete a series of courses with the scheme at HMP Whitemoor.

– April 2018: A psychologist’s report finds that Khan is polite to staff, well involved in his education and in one incident stopped other prisoners getting involved when two other inmates were fighting.

– June 2018: While Khan’s behaviour has apparently begun to improve, a prison report warns: “He may be behaving in a deceptively compliant manner in order to facilitate his release.”

– October 2018: Intelligence on Khan suggests he will “return to his old ways”, interpreted as meaning terrorism. However, he has also engaged positively with the Learning Together scheme.

– December 2018: Khan is released from jail on various licence conditions and lives in Stafford. He is visited regularly by probation staff and the police, who are not told of intelligence concerns that he may be faking compliance.

– March 2019: Khan maintains contact with Learning Together and is involved with filming a video for the organisation.

– June 2019: He attends a Learning Together event at one of his former prisons, HMP Whitemoor.

– August 2019: Khan is discussed at a Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (Mappa) meeting of probation, police and security officials. A decision is apparently made that Khan can travel to London for the Learning Together anniversary event at Fishmongers’ Hall in November, but there is no written record made of what is said.

– October 2019: Khan moves to his own flat and spends hours in the darkened apartment playing video games and watching DVDs. He has trouble getting employment.

– November 19: At another Mappa meeting Khan’s trip to London is discussed only in terms of logistics, not the risk Khan poses. MI5 said the trip would have provided useful information on whether they could close their file on him, but failed to provide surveillance as intended.

– November 28: Khan gets his hair and beard trimmed in preparation for the attack, and at Stafford market buys the knives he will use to kill Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones.

– November 29: Khan murders the two Cambridge graduates and injures three others at Fishmongers’ Hall, before he is shot dead by police on London Bridge.