London Bridge hero who sprayed knifeman with fire extinguisher ‘prepared to die’ & screamed at him to blow suicide belt – The SunDecember 12, 2019
A HERO who sprayed the London Bridge knifeman with a fire extinguisher says he was "prepared to die" and screamed at him to blow his suicide belt.
Ex-prisoner John Crilly fearlessly tackled Usman Khan after the convicted terrorist launched his stabbing rampage at a prisoner rehabilitation conference in Fishmonger's Hall.
Crilly, 48, has been widely hailed as a hero after he was filmed going after Khan with the fire extinguisher in the attack that left Cambridge graduates Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones dead.
The reformed killer was accompanied by two others, who used a whale tusk and pole to force Khan out of the building before armed cops shot him dead.
'I WAS PREPARED TO LOSE MY LIFE'
Crilly has relived his chilling conversation with the terrorist in his first broadcast interview since the November 29 attack.
"I was screaming at him to blow it," he told the BBC. "I was prepared to lose my life."
He added: "It seemed like ages before they shot him. It wasn't all gung-ho and trigger happy, they proper took their time, to the point where I did scream 'shoot him'."
Crilly, who is on parole following a manslaughter conviction and jail sentence, became friends with victim Jack, 25, after they worked together at HMP Grendon, Bucks.
I was screaming at him to blow it. I was prepared to lose my life.
He said hearing a "high-pitched girl's scream" first alerted him to the danger.
After dashing downstairs he found Saskia, 23, sprawled across the staircase before seeing Khan armed with two knives.
He asked the killer what he was doing. "He says something like 'kill everyone' or 'kill you', something about killing people." he said.
"I just assume now that he just saw it as a big target. A room full of establishment people – judges, probation, police, security."
He said Khan told him he was "waiting for the police" to arrive before detonating the belt, which was later found to be a hoax.
RISKING THEIR LIVES
Asked if he considered himself a hero, Crilly said: "No. Jack gave up his life, he would be my hero."
Crilly, a former heroin addict and career criminal, was sentenced to life with a minimum of 20 years in 2005 after being convicted of robbery and the murder of a 71-year-old man in a violent burglary.
Another man killed the pensioner in the raid at a Manchester council flat, while Crilly stole a blender and a mobile phone.
But Crilly was jailed for murder under a controversial “joint- enterprise” conviction by Lord Brian Leveson — the same judge who freed terrorist Khan.
The murder conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal. John admitted manslaughter and was released after serving 13 years.
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