‘He believed in redemption, not revenge’: Tributes to London Bridge victims
They were both Cambridge graduates
Tributes are being paid to Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones, who were killed in the London Bridge attacks on Friday.
Jack, 25, and Saskia, 23, had both studied at the University of Cambridge. Jack had obtained a Law degree from the University of Manchester. Both were course co-ordinators for Learning Together, a programme put on by the University of Cambridge.
Friends and family have since Tweeted and posted tributes to Jack and Saskia on social media:
Tributes to Jack Merritt
"You were a beautiful spirit who always took the side of the underdog"
Jack's father David said in a now-deleted tweet: "My son Jack, who was killed in this attack, would not wish his death to be used as the pretext for more draconian sentences or for detaining people unnecessarily.
"Cambridge has lost a proud son and a champion for underdogs everywhere, but especially those dealt a losing hand by life, who ended up in the prison system.
"R.I.P. Jack: you were a beautiful spirit who always took the side of the underdog."
"He believed in redemption and rehabilitation, not revenge"
The family later said in a statement: "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."
"Your life had so much enjoyment in it, and you gave us all so much happiness"
A friends of Jack's said on Twitter: "You were such a completely brilliant boy, you could have done anything, literally anything, but you chose to help others. You championed the underdog, you did all you could to get voices heard.
"I'm still struggling to put two words together. I walked by the river yesterday morning, the air was so fresh. It was the clearest of days but I couldn't see anything, I couldn't hear anything and everything reminded me of you.
My darling boy, Jack Merritt. My best friend, Jack Merritt. My heart is hurting and I can barely breathe. pic.twitter.com/qjDjkUXDVG
— holl 🌻 (@HollieJ2193) December 1, 2019
"I want you here to hug me to rip the complete shit out of me, I want you here with love in your heart and the smile on your face. I want you to make fucking pizzas and drink nice wine and sing fucking Fast Train at the top of our lungs.
"I want so much, I wanted so much for you. Your life had so much enjoyment in it, and you gave us all so much happiness.
"We went to the punter last night and I kept expecting you to turn up, swanky coat on, Doc Martens on, and that bloody vape in hand.
"I wanted to hear about your day, I wanted to hear about your conference, I wanted to hear you speak with passion, but you didn't.
"You will always be here Jack. I will carry you everywhere I go, everything I do, you will be here with me."
"It was genuinely an honour to have met someone like you"
Rapper Dave said Jack was "the best guy", adding: "He dedicated his life to helping others.
"It was genuinely an honour to have met someone like you."
"His spirit continues to inspire"
A former prison governor and prison officer said: "So sorry for you and your family.
"Jack promoted progressive reform and his spirit continues to inspire.
"He was an exceptional student"
Dr Hannah Quirk said: "I taught him at Manchester and wrote his reference for Cambridge.
"He was an exceptional student and a lovely young man. I am so sorry for your loss."
"The warmest heart, always with time for everyone"
Serena Wright, a criminology lecturer at Royal Holloway who knew Jack through the Learning Together programme said to Jack's father: "I loved him to pieces – he was the sweetest, most caring and selfless individual I’ve ever met.
"The warmest heart, always with time for anyone. Completely irreplaceable – I will mourn his loss greatly and honour his memory."
Tributes to Saskia Jones
"She always wanted to see the best in people"
Saskia's family said in a statement: "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."
"She wanted to make an enduring and positive impact on society"
Cambridge's institute of criminology director, Prof Loraine Gelsthorpe, said Saskia had a "determination to make an enduring and positive impact on society in everything she did".
She added: "Saskia's warm disposition and extraordinary intellectual creativity was combined with a strong belief that people who have committed criminal offences should have opportunities for rehabilitation.
"A lot of people were scared of me, she wasn't"
Saskia's former tutor, Colleen Moore, told the BBC: "She was fearless, she was a warrior, she was going to change the world – maybe she will.
"She stood out above everyone else, partly because she wanted to.
"She was not afraid to say anything, there was no fooling her… she said things that she knew would be a bit risky but they were always right.
"She was a lovely, lovely woman, she made me laugh. She called me out on things – a lot of people were scared of me, she wasn't."
"Her dissertation was so good I cried when I marked it"
Olivia Smith, the lecturer who marked Saskia's dissertation, said: "I'm so sorry that the world won't get to see what she could have achieved.
"Saskia's dissertation was so good that I cried with pride when I marked it."
She added Saskia was "one of a kind" who "would have been a force for good."