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Tears as Cambridge pays tribute to former students killed in terrorist attack

WATCH: ITV Anglia's Elodie Harper reports on the commemorative events

The family and friends of two former Cambridge University students sobbed as a vigil was held in their memory in the city centre.

Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones were killed in a terror attack on London Bridge on Friday, 29 November.

On Monday, hundreds gathered in Cambridge's Market Square to remember the pair.

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Jack's girlfriend broke down in tears as she clutched a cuddly toy, surrounded by the Merritt family.

Jack, 25, and Saskia, 23, were both working at a prisoner rehabilitation event organised by the University at Fishmongers' Hall near London Bridge on Friday.

That was where Usman Khan, 28, who was taking part in the conference, began an attack which saw him stab five people and ended with him being killed by armed police.

James Morgans, a university friend of Saskia, paid tribute to her:

“Jack Merritt, our beautiful, talented boy, died doing what he loved, surrounded by people he loved and who loved him. He lit up our lives and the lives of his many friends and colleagues, and we will miss him terribly.

“Jack lived his principles; he believed in redemption and rehabilitation, not revenge, and he always took the side of the underdog. Jack was an intelligent, thoughtful and empathetic person who was looking forward to building a future with his girlfriend, Leanne, and making a career helping people in the criminal justice system. We know Jack would not want this terrible, isolated incident to be used as a pretext by the government for introducing even more draconian sentences on prisoners, or for detaining people in prison for longer than necessary.

“Our thoughts go out to the relatives and friends of his friend and colleague who died with him in this incident, to the colleagues who were injured, and to his brilliant, supportive colleagues at the University of Cambridge Department of Criminology.”

– Statement from the family of Jack Merritt
Jack Merritt was one of the organisers of the rehabilitation conference where the attack happened Credit: Family photo

At the same time as the vigil in Cambridge, a similar event took place in London featuring Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

He called for people to come together following the killings and work for a future "not defined by hatred but defined by hope, unity and love".

Saskia did an undergraduate degree at the Anglia Ruskin University before a postgraduate qualification at Cambridge Credit: Family photo

“Saskia was a funny, kind, positive influence at the centre of many people’s lives. She had a wonderful sense of mischievous fun and was generous to the point of always wanting to see the best in all people.

“She was intent on living life to the full and had a wonderful thirst for knowledge, enabling her to be the best she could be.

“Saskia had a great passion for providing invaluable support to victims of criminal injustice, which led her to the point of recently applying for the police graduate recruitment programme, wishing to specialise in victim support.

“This is an extremely painful time for the family. Saskia will leave a huge void in our lives.”

– Statement from the family of Saskia Jones

One of the three people injured in the attack has been allowed to return home while the other two remain in a stable condition in hospital.

No-one else is being sought over the attack.

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