London Bridge knife maniac Usman Khan was jail friend of Lee Rigby killer

Fishmongers Hall terrorist Usman Khan was a leading radicalising influence in jail who associated with Lee Rigby’s killer, an inquest has heard.

Khan, 28, was involved in at least seven prison incidents, including being found with a stockpile of chemicals in his cell and reciting a poem with the line “cut off the kuffar’s head”.

On another occasion he claimed to have access to a weapon and planned to “do someone in the eye or neck” saying he wanted to die and go to paradise.

With fellow inmates he also attacked another prisoner to shouts of “Allahu Akbar”.

And in March 2017 while in HMP Whitemoor, Khan talked about his Muslim faith with Michael Adebowale, who beheaded Fusilier Rigby, jurors heard.

Eleven months after his release, Khan killed Cambridge graduates Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, at a Learning Together prisoners’ educational event at the historic hall next to London Bridge.

On Tuesday, senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Dan Brown told an inquest how Khan came under the influence of hate preacher Anjem Choudary, the leader of terrorist organisation al-Muhajiroun (ALM).

Born in Stoke-on-Trent to parents who had come to the UK from Pakistan, he was described by a former teacher as having a “chip on his shoulder” and “teenage swagger”.

At the age of 13, Khan was excluded from school after assaulting another pupil and exchanging racial slurs, for which he was given a youth reprimand, the court heard.

Khan was one of nine men from London, Stoke and Cardiff to be convicted of terrorism offences in 2012.

In May 2013, a stockpile of chemicals was found in Khan’s cell which would not have been capable of making an IED but was still “very concerning”, Mr Brown said.

In November of that year, a Church of England chaplain was caught up in an assault by Khan on another prisoner.

The same day, a razor blade was found in his cell, the court heard.

Khan became a senior figure amongst extremists in prison and was categorised as a “high risk”.

By June 2017, Khan was regarded as an “influential’’ terrorist prisoner involved in “extremist bullying’’, Mr Brown said.

In October 2018, intelligence on Khan suggested he would “return to his old ways”.

Meanwhile, he was said to have engaged “positively” with Learning Together, jurors heard.

The inquest at the Guildhall into the deaths of Saskia and Jack in November 2019 continues.