Extraordinary account of heroism from today's Times

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honestbroker1
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Extraordinary account of heroism from today's Times

Post by honestbroker1 » Wed Apr 21, 2021 7:20 pm

A civil servant gave an extraordinary account of personal courage today when he described how he used a narwhal tusk to confront a convicted terrorist who had just killed two Cambridge graduates.

Darryn Frost, 39, struggled with the knifeman on the ground to prevent him from detonating what he believed was a suicide belt, before trying to prevent police from shooting the attacker.

He was assisted by John Crilly, 50, who had served a jail sentence for manslaughter, and Steven Gallant, 43, who was on day release from prison having been convicted of murder.

A sketch of Darryn Frost giving evidence today, with the narwhal tusk depicted on a screen
A sketch of Darryn Frost giving evidence today, with the narwhal tusk depicted on a screen
ELIZABETH COOK/PA
Frost, a communications manager with the Ministry of Justice, was a guest at a prisoner rehabilitation conference at Fishmongers’ Hall in the City of London when Usman Khan, 28, went on a knife rampage in November 2019.

He gave evidence at the inquests of Jack Merritt, 25, from Cottenham in Cambridgeshire, and Saskia Jones, 23, from Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. The pair worked with the prisoner rehabilitation charity Learning Together.

Frost, who works for the prison and probation service, said that he was listening to a speaker in an upstairs banqueting hall when he became aware of a “scream or a commotion” downstairs.

“Someone said ‘It must be kids, skateboarders’. Then when we heard the last set of screams the gentleman, a serving prisoner, said almost to himself: ‘That’s not the cry of kids.’

“That was my call to action, that’s when I stood up and went out of the doors.

“There was a lady from Learning Together. She had a look of terror on her face, her eyes were really wide. I saw a lady on the stairs [Jones] with her neck or throat slit and blood pouring out.

“I thought I should get something for whatever may be lying ahead. I thought I would get something to arm myself with.

“My immediate thought was a chair, but thought that was not enough.

“I glanced over to my left. On either side of the door were these really long narwhal tusks — I thought they were whale tusks. There were these two long, white, shining objects. I took the left narwhal tusk out of the bracket.

“At this point I had tunnel vision, I had to run to where the commotion was coming from.”

Frost said he saw Gallant using a chair to keep Khan at bay.

“The first thing I saw was these two shining blades, they were above his [Khan’s] ear level, he was holding them up and kind of bashing at the door,” Frost said.

“I didn’t attack, I put the tip of the narwhal tusk about an inch or two above his midriff. He stopped banging on the door and turned and looked at me a bit perplexed.

“He still had the knife up but he glanced at me and then down to the narwhal tusks and he paused.”

He added the Khan had seemed “surprisingly calm, but a little bit quizzical” and that someone then said: “Oh god, he’s got a bomb”.

Frost went on: “He had a large Puffer jacket on. The two zippers were open, through the gap I could see what looked like an explosive device around his waist.

“From that distance it looked really convincing. My head was reeling because he had threatened us with a bomb.”

Frost followed Khan out of Fishmongers’ Hall on to London Bridge.

“I ran at full sprint towards him, I caught up with him,” he said. “I thought I was on my own.

“That is the point he realised he could not reach the members of the public. They looked like a shoal of bait fish being chased by a predator.

“He raised the knives up again and started running towards me. I can see that he was trying to attack me and I thought I would need to keep some distance.

“As he raised his arms there was a tiny piece of skin that showed on his left. Time slowed down so slowly and I was able to aim for that centimetre of flesh.

“I aimed the tip of the tusk at him, and as he was running towards me I thrust at him.”

After Frost stabbed him with the tusk, Gallant pulled Khan to the ground.

Frost said: “I dropped the narwhal tusk and jumped on to the assailant’s back and immediately reached out for his wrists.

“I had my hands outstretched over his head, grabbing his hands more than his wrist, holding them upright, as far outstretched as I could so that he could not swipe at anyone and he could not set off the bomb that he had threatened us with.

“I could feel the power in his arms. He was trying to resist. I could feel him trying to pull from side to side. I put all my body weight on to him.

“My face was practically next to his face. I was holding his arms out straight. I was looking at the knives. I was just focused on keeping the knives away.

“People started hitting and kicking him. They started kicking him and punching him in the head. I shifted my whole bodyweight to protect his head. Somebody stood on my hands. It was a tan boot with tan soles.

“I shouted, ‘Don’t hit him, don’t hit him, take the knives off him.’ ”

He said he was on top of him for a minute or so before armed police arrived, at which point he feared Khan might set off what he thought was a suicide vest.

“The police officer came to me and was saying for people to move away,” he said. “I shouted something to the effect of how I have got his hands, he can’t kill anyone else, I won’t let him kill anyone else.

“I didn’t want him to be shot because his statement that he was waiting for the police meant he wanted to die.

“I saw the chaos he had caused in the hall. I thought he wanted to die. I didn’t want him to have the satisfaction of his choice when he took away others.”

“Steve Gallant came back and grabbed my shoulder and said, ‘Come on mate.’

“I wasn’t letting go of Khan. He was wringgly and he wriggled himself to face me directly. He kept trying to lower his hands. The police officer kept saying ‘move away, move away’ but they didn’t know he had a bomb and he would set it off when they arrived.

“There was a struggle for a while and when Khan saw I wasn’t releasing him he seemed to relax a little.

“He looked up at the officer and very gently said, ‘I’ve got a bomb, I’ve got a bomb.’ The officer shouted, ‘He’s got a bomb.’ He seemed so distressed, his voice broke.

“My face was 10-15 cm from the device. Beside these tubes, there looked like a little box. It looked like it was made out of cardboard and there was a gap of a millimetre-and-a-half and I could see it was empty, so I wasn’t sure if it was a bomb or not.

“I thought maybe the bomb is fake and maybe I should let go. Time seemed to slow down exponentially. I thought if I let Khan go there was a chance he would let off this bomb.

“I thought I was risking getting shot in the head if I didn’t let go. I looked down and I thought I saw a mobile phone attached to the belt. I thought I was in control of the situation, isolating his hands from the belt.

“Because I hesitated, the officer managed to pull me up so I let go and ran. I was expecting an explosion. There was three cracks and then an echo.

“I thought it was fireworks, that he had set off this device but it was of an amateur nature. I thought everyone was dead in the vicinity, including the police I was trying to protect.

“I was looking for smoke from these fireworks. But there didn’t appear to be any. I looked towards Khan and there was no smoke so I deduced the police had shot him.”

The inquests, at Guildhall, continue.

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