London Bridge attacker Usman Khan was once celebrated as a success story by officials with the prison-rehabilitation program he targeted, according to a report.
Khan, a 28-year-old convicted terrorist, had even been invited to speak at the group’s Friday conference, where he unleashed his attack, killing two people before being shot dead by cops, the Telegraph said.
The Cambridge University-backed program, Learning Together, had worked with Khan before he was released from prison last year, then used him in a case study afterward to show how it has helped prisoners, the outlet reported.
The organization’s site reportedly featured a poem and thank-you note from Khan in which he praised the program for “opening minds” and “giving a voice to those who are shut down.
“It is more than just an organization, helping to provide learning of individual academic subjects,” Khan wrote, according to the Telegraph. “For me, its main benefit is bringing people together, through the means of learning. Learning Together is about opening minds, unlocking doors, and giving a voice to those who are shut down, hidden from the rest of us.”
But Khan turned on those who helped him Friday, during the program’s five-year anniversary event, authorities said.
His former lawyer, Vajahat Sharif, said he was “completely shocked” by the turn of events, CNN reported.
He said she last met with Khan shortly before he was released in December 2018 from prison, where he was serving for plotting with a group to blow up the London Stock Exchange and other targets.
“He wasn’t talking about politics,” Sharif told CNN. “He wasn’t talking about jihad. He was talking in a positive way.”
She said he didn’t appear bothered by the conditions surrounding his release, such as that he would be required to wear an electronic monitor and comply with probation officers.
“What is so astonishing is that he recognized that the police were going to be in his life, and he was fine about that. It was just them doing their job,” Sharif said. “He was very different from [what he was like as a] 19-year-old. He had matured a lot.”
— which has left even his former lawyer “completely shocked,” according to reports.