Convicted murderer Steve Gallant tells of moment he fought London Bridge terrorist

Steve Gallant was speaking to Dermot O'Leary and Alison Hammond on This Morning Credit: ITV/Metropolitan Police

A convicted murderer has spoken about the moment he tackled a terrorist on his first day out of prison.

Steve Gallant was given a life sentence with a minimum term of 17 years for the murder of Barrie Jackson, a former firefighter from Hull, in 2005.

Fourteen-and-a half years later, in November 2019, Gallant gained national prominence when he confronted terrorist Usman Khan while on day release from prison.

Khan killed two people when he randomly started attacking people at Fishmongers' Hall next to London Bridge.

In what became viral video footage, Gallant was filmed using a narwhal tusk to tackle Khan.

Appearing on ITV's This Morning on Wednesday, Gallant recalled the incident, saying: "I do remember it vividly. It was my first day out of prison. It was a beautiful day, first day out... everything was going really well.

"We heard screams. I got told by the officer who escorted me that day to stay put, so I stayed.

"Then the screams continued and I said 'sod it, I've got to go and investigate'," he said.

Gallant described seeing two women covered in blood on the floor of Fishmongers' Hall, as Khan stood in front of him with knives in his hands.

"I made the decision to engage him, keep him at bay, keep him occupied," he said.

"At first I threw a chunk of wood at him, and then he showed me his bomb.

"I just assumed it was fake - I don't know why because I don't know what a fake bomb looks like, but I made that assumption and that turned out to be true."

Steve Gallant was interviewed by Dermot O'Leary and Alison Hammond on This Morning on Wednesday. Credit: ITV

Gallant took a narwhal tusk which had been on the wall inside the building to fight with Khan before they moved out onto London Bridge.

He and two other men who were armed with a fire extinguisher and an ornamental pike were filmed tussling with Khan before armed police arrived and shot him dead.

"It was obviously the right thing to do in the circumstances, but I'd resisted violence, I'd not used violence once in 14-and-a-half years until that moment," Gallant told presenters Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary.

"I was surrounded by a lot of violence in the prison system as well, a lot of challenges, and I navigated my way through that and stayed clean until that moment."

Jack Merritt, a 25-year-old prisoner rehabilitation worker - who Gallant knew from his time in prison - died in the attack.

Steve Gallant (left) knew Jack Merritt (right) from his work in prisons.

"I got to know him in his professional life, and he was just an amazing person, very passionate about what he was doing," said Gallant.

"To learn the next day that he'd been killed - it was terrible."

Gallant, who has released a book called The Road to London Bridge, was one of two men convicted of murdering Barrie Jackson in 2005. He told This Morning he had experienced violence in his childhood, teaching him that "it was OK to use violence to solve issues".

Speaking about Jackson's murder, he said his partner had been attacked and he responded "in the way that I understood... to use violence".

"Unfortunately, that led to somebody losing their life," he said. "I was rightly sent to prison for a very long time."

But he said he was determined to change his ways after being jailed.

"It was quite a quick decision after being 'lifed off'," he said. "I wanted to get out, I knew I'd made a profound mistake.

"I vowed not to use violence again, educate myself, understand my own violence and understand what motivated that so ultimately I could get out of prison."

London Bridge attacker Usman Khan was shot and killed by armed police who thought he was trying to detonate a suicide vest.

Gallant was awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal, a civilian honour for bravery, for his role in confronting Khan, in the final such list of awards Queen Elizabeth approved before her death last year.

He said: "I would never define myself as a hero, but I think there is an opportunity to use that to say, 'look, people can change'."

"We all face difficult challenges in our lives, serving a life sentence was a challenge, it was a massive challenge... but ultimately it was an opportunity for me to talk about how you can, if you put the effort in, get through these terrible, terrible circumstances.

"If [the authorities] are accepting that I changed, that symbolises a really powerful thing for me. I've got to be responsible and use that appropriately and hopefully inspire other people to do what I did [change]."

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