Terror attack survivors 'failed by government' desperately seek better support

Tap above to watch video report by Callum Watkinson

Three years on from the Fishmongers Hall attack in central London survivors are calling on the Government to deliver on their pledges for better support.

Cambridge graduates Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, were killed in 2019 by Usman Khan at a conference near London Bridge. Many more were injured.

An inquest found Khan was lawfully killed by armed police after stabbing the graduates while wearing a fake suicide belt.

The attack came during the 2019 General Election campaign and both Conservatives and Labour said they would consult on a 'Survivor's Charter' and introduce Martyn's Law - named after Martyn Hett who died in the Manchester Arena attack - to improve security at public venues. Three years on neither have been delivered.

Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23 Credit: Met Police

Darryn Frost, who fought off the terrorist at Fishmongers Hall using a narwal tusk, said: "Those of us who survived the attack are now victims of government failings and delays.

"The promises made three years ago have still not been fulfilled and what that means is survivors struggling to get mental health support, bereaved families left unsupported and public venues no safer than before.

"We keep hearing excuses but it's simply not good enough."

The lack of support is not limited to the survivors of the Fishmongers hall attack. Paul Price was with his partner, Elaine, at the Manchester Arena attack when a suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured many others. Elaine died, Paul survived but suffered life-changing injuries. Paul said: "I was grieving because I lost my beloved partner that night. I then spent eight months in hospital and when I came out I had to move back in with my elderly parents to start to recover. "Five years on - despite the severity of my injuries - I have yet to receive a penny from the Government's compensation scheme. All I get are constant requests for more and more medical evidence. Instead of being supported I feel like I'm being treated like a criminal." Mohammed Kozbar is the Chairman of Finsbury Park Mosque. In June 2017 a terrorist attack took place killing one person and injuring 11 others.

Tributes left on Seven Sister Road close to Finsbury Park Mosque in north London in 2017 Credit: PA

'Poor mental health'

He said: "We have been so disappointed by the lack of meaningful support given to survivors and their families.

"As a community we have been there for them as best as we can but the Government has let us down.

"Five years on and the survivors are really struggling with poor mental health, some are still living in housing unsuitable for their needs following life changing injuries and they are struggling to get the financial assistance and guidance they deserve."

A 'Survivors Charter' would provide a series of guarantees to those affected by terror attacks, developed in consultation with survivors themselves and by learning from best practice around the world.

The Charter would include guaranteed levels of mental health support, financial relief, and legal assistance.

In a statement the Home Office said: "There is practical and emotional support available to anyone impacted by terrorism including a 24/7 support line, bereavement support, and mental health assessments and referrals.

"The Government has worked to strengthen the support available to victims of terrorism, but we know there is still more to do."

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