Probation officer not told terrorist Usman Khan was subject of MI5 investigation

The probation officer responsible for the terrorist Usman Khan was not told that Khan was the subject of an MI5 counter terrorist investigation before he carried out his deadly attacks at Fishmongers’ Hall, 死因審問は聞いた.

Khan killed Cambridge University graduates Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones, at an event for prisoner education programme hosted by Learning Together at the hall in central London in November 2019.

On Wednesday an inquest into their deaths heard evidence from Kenneth Skelton, the probation officer who monitored Khan when he was released from prison on licence in December 2018 after serving six years for terrorist offences.

Skelton told the jury how he had been involved in the decision to allow Khan to attend the Fishmongers’ Hall event. He said he wanted to “reinforce the protective factors that Usman was starting to develop”.

Jonathan Hough, QC, counsel for the inquest, asked Skelton whether he was told that the security services were also monitoring Khan.

He asked: “Were you aware, over the time that you were dealing with Usman Khan in 2019 that he was the subject of an MI5 investigation joint with counterterrorism police.”

Skelton replied “No, not at all.” Next week, the inquest is due to hear from a member of the security forces about this investigation of Khan.

Skelton told the inquest that police had intervened in the summer of 2019 to stop Khan being trained in how to operate a dumper truck. Recalling a multi-agency public protection arrangement (Mappa) meeting about Khan in July 2019, Skelton said: “I think it was West Midlands CTU [counter-terrorism unit] who raised a concern about that. And there was a lengthy discussion about what type of truck it was and where he would be doing it … around that time there had been an incident with a van.”

Hough said: “To be clear, the concern was there had been attacks using heavy vehicles as weapons by terrorists, and these policemen were concerned about this convicted terrorist having access to a heavy piece of machinery?」

"はい,” Skelton replied.

But Skelton also confirmed that no agencies, including the police, had any objection to Khan being allowed to attend the Learning Together event at Fishmongers’ Hall, during two Mappa meetings when the issue was raised.

Skelton said: “In terms of the actual event at the Fishmongers’ Hall, there were no discussions because at that point there were no risks identified in his [Khan’s] behaviour.”

Attempting to justify the decision to allow him to attend the event, Skelton said: “It was about trying to do something that encouraged him to move on.”

But Skelton, a probation officer for 30 年, said there was evidence – including from Khan himself – that he had changed his attitude and denounced his past offending.

Skelton said Khan’s enrolment on Learning Together courses while in prison was “a turning point” in his life.

Skelton told the inquests: “In terms of his behaviour, outwardly it was positive but at no point did I forget the negative reports we have been receiving for months and over the time of his custodial sentence.”

Hough QC, asked if Skelton was sceptical that Khan might be putting on “an act” and that his extremist views had not changed.

Skelton replied: “Not at all.

“The conversations I had with him in terms of his offending – he was making plans, his involvement with Learning Together – everything presented as being positive. At no point did I get any indication of any false behaviour.”

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