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Murderer on day release helped victims in London Bridge terror attack

Members of the public have been praised for tackling Usman Khan (Picture: @HLOBlog/Twitter/PA)

A man who intervened in the London Bridge terror attack on Friday was on day release from prison after murdering a 21-year-old woman in 2004.

James Ford, 42, was praised after he tried to help a woman who was being attacked by Usman Khan, 28.

Khan, who was armed with two knives and wearing a fake suicide vest, was tackled by members of the public before he was shot dead by police on London Bridge next to Fishmongers’ Hall.

He killed a man and a woman in the knife rampage and injured three others.

James Ford was on day release from prison when he intervened (Picture: PA)

It has now emerged Ford was on day release from prison after being jailed for a minimum of 15 years for the murder of Amanda Champion.

He cut the victim’s throat and dumped her body in a waste ground close to her home in Kent in 2003.

The family of Ms Champion, who had learning difficulties and a mental age of 15, said Ford wasn’t a hero and would never change.

Her aunt Angela Cox, 65, told the Daily Mail: “He is not a hero. He is a murderer out on day release, which us as a family didn’t know anything about.

“He murdered a disabled girl. He is not a hero, absolutely not. The police liaison officer called me saying he was on the TV. I am so angry.

“They let him out without even telling us. Any of my family could have been in London and just bumped into him. It was a hell of a shock.”

Amanda Champion, 21, was killed in 2003 (Picture: PA)
Flowers being delivered to the scene in Ashford, Kent, after Amanda Champion was killed (Picture: PA)

Ford had been invited to the Fishmongers’ Hall on day release.

He was attending a conference on prisoner rehabilitation organised by the University of Cambridge-associated Learning Together.

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It has now been confirmed Khan was a convicted terrorist released half-way through a 16-year prison sentence for a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange.

In February 2012, Khan, who had been based in Stoke-on-Trent, was handed an open-ended indeterminate sentence for public protection over his part in an al Qaida-inspired terror group that plotted to bomb the London Stock Exchange and build a terrorist training camp on land in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir owned by his family.

A list of other potential targets included the names and addresses of the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in London, then London mayor Boris Johnson, two rabbis, and the American Embassy in London.

But the sentence for Khan, along with two co-conspirators, was quashed at the Court of Appeal in April 2013 and he was given a determinate 16-year jail term and freed on licence in December last year and made to wear the tag.

Ford is scheduled for imminent release from HMP Standford Hill, in Sheppey, according to reports.