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Continuing rehabilitation programme would 'honour' work of Saskia and Jack, says Criminology course leader

Professor Gelsthorpe taught both Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones

The head of Cambridge University's criminology department has said continuing a rehabilitation programme would "honour" the work of murdered graduates Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones.

Both Jack, 25, and Saskia, 23, were taking part in a conference run by the Learning Together programme when killed by terrorist Usman Khan.

Jack was a coordinator for the conference, which was being held at Fishmongers' Hall near London Bridge on Friday, 29 November, while Saskia was volunteering.

WATCH: ITV Anglia's Elodie Harper speaks to Professor Loraine Gelsthorpe

Both had completed postgraduate degrees within the university's criminology department.

Speaking to ITV Anglia on Monday, department director Professor Loraine Gelsthorpe said she felt Learning Together should be continued.

She said: "We think that it's important to continue the programme.

"It's important to continue the legacy of the work, partly to honour Saskia and Jack, because they've contributed so much and the value of the work is there for people to see.

"Those who have benefitted from the programme have not held back in saying how they've benefitted. Education has value, it changes people's lives."

Khan, 28, was shot by armed police after running onto London Bridge.

He had been attending the conference, having taken part in the Learning Together programme.

Prof Gelsthorpe said the fact the attack was carried out by a participant would not deter them going forward.

She said: "It's a cruel irony that they should be killed by someone they were trying to help.

"It doesn't make us want to move away from delivering such programmes. We know from decades of research that education and rehabilitation are very important."

Both Jack and Saskia came to the University after completing undergraduate degrees elsewhere - Jack at Manchester and Saskia at Anglia Ruskin.

Once at Cambridge, both came into contact with Prof Gelsthorpe, who shared her memories of teaching them.

She said: "Jack was something of the class joker, and very much lead people.

"He worked incredibly hard, very committed, very warm character - he had a quiet, dry sense of humour.

"Saskia was intellectually lively, she always asked lots of questions in the seminars and wanted additional reading.

"They both did very well when they did the courses."

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