Convicted murderer hailed as 'hero' in London Bridge attack
Man convicted of killing woman, 21, joined others to stop terrorist who went on knife rampage
LONDON: One of the men who helped to stop the London Bridge terrorist from killing more people was once a killer himself.
Convicted murderer James Ford, 42, was on day release from prison when he saw the attack unfolding on Friday and rushed to help during the ensuing chaos.
Ford had attended the same prisoner rehabilitation event at Fishmongers' Hall as Usman Khan, a 28-year-old convicted Islamist terrorist, who killed two victims and wounded three before being shot dead by police.
Ford rushed to try to save the life of a female victim. Sources told The Telegraph his actions had probably saved lives.
Besides Ford, several other people went after the terrorist. What was particularly striking were the weapons they used to confront him: a fire extinguisher and - incredibly enough - a 1.5m narwhal tusk apparently taken from the wall of Fishmongers' Hall.
Video footage shows one man spraying the fire extinguisher at the knife-wielding attacker and trying to hit him with the blunt instrument, as another tries to pin him with the whale tusk.
Others ganged up on the man, wrestling him to the ground and stripping away his weapons, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
Additional footage shows another man - said by some media outlets to be a plainclothes policeman - calmly walking away from the scene with one of the attacker's knives, making sure it could not be used to kill again.
The attacker was restrained until the police arrived and shot him dead when he flashed a suicide vest that turned out to be fake.
The bystanders' valour - and ingenuity - did not go unnoticed.
They were praised not only by Queen Elizabeth II and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson but also - perhaps more importantly - by ordinary people on Twitter, AP reported.
"We'll never know how many lives are being saved in this moment. Heroes is an overused word, but entirely correct here," one man wrote after viewing the video.
"Unbelievable bravery. Truly humbling," a woman wrote.
The brief video had been viewed more than two million times on Twitter by Saturday afternoon.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the bystanders who took down the attacker could have run away for their own safety but decided to run towards danger instead.
"We saw Londoners, ordinary citizens, acting in an extraordinary way," he said.
Mr Steve Hurst, who was in a passing car, got out to join the group trying to restrain the attacker. He told the BBC he tried to kick the assailant's foot so he would drop the knife.
"We were trying to do as much as we could to dislodge the knife from his hand so he couldn't harm anyone else," Mr Hurst said.
Khan was jailed in 2012 for his role in an Al Qaeda-inspired terror group that plotted to bomb the London Stock Exchange.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terror group has claimed he was fighting on its behalf but did not provide any evidence.
The two people killed in the knife rampage were graduates of Cambridge University, it has been revealed.
Mr Jack Merritt, 25, was the course coordinator for Learning Together, an education scheme run by the university's Institute of Criminology that Khan had attended on Friday.
His father David said in a tweet that his son "would not wish his death to be used as the pretext for more draconian sentences or for detaining people unnecessarily".
The other victim, a woman who has not been named, was confirmed by Cambridge vice-chancellor, Sky News reported.
Ford was jailed for life with a minimum of 15 years in 2004 for strangling and cutting the throat of Ms Amanda Champion, a 21-year-old who had a mental age of 15.
Her family, who had tried to block Ford's parole, were upset he had been released without their knowledge.
Her aunt, Ms Angela Cox, told the Daily Mail: "He is not a hero. He murdered a disabled girl. I don't care what he's done today, he's a murderer."