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A man who fought off a London terror attack with a fire extinguisher said he was a ‘hero for a day’ before being branded a murderer again.
John Crilly was attending an ex-offenders education conference in Fishmongers Hall in London in December 2019 when one of his fellow attendees, Usman Khan, began to attack people with knives.
Khan then opened up his coat to reveal a suicide vest, which he threatened to detonate before making his way to London Bridge.
Quick-thinking Crilly grabbed a fire extinguisher and began dousing Khan with it, while Darryn Frost grabbed a narwhal tusk and Steven Gallant attempted to tackle him.
Khan was eventually shot and killed by police, and the bomb vest he was wearing was discovered to be a fake.
Footage from the incident was shared online with Crilly and the other men hailed as heroes for stepping in.
However, Crilly - who was attending the conference because he had a previous conviction for manslaughter - said one day later he was known as a murderer again.
He told the Mirror: “That first day we were heroes. Then by day two we were murderers.”
Crilly was imprisoned in 2005 for his part in a burglary that went badly wrong, after his co-defendant killed Augustine Maduemezia, 71, with a single punch.
Despite not being responsible for the fatal blow, Crilly was sentenced under the joint enterprise law, which applies to people who could have foreseen that their associates might cause serious harm or even death.
Gallant was on day release from prison where he was serving a sentence for murder, while Frost is a communications officer from the Ministry of Justice.
Twenty-three-year-old Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt, 25, both died in the attack.
Crilly added: “The reaction afterwards showed the narrative never changes.
“No matter how many times I said, ‘I’m not a murderer’, it never made any difference.”
Two years later, Crilly said he still has flashbacks and the recent terror attack in Liverpool ‘set him off’.
He explained: “It [the Liverpool attack] set me off if I’m honest.
“Flashbacks to London Bridge. I get them all the time seeing people dead, and I just burst out crying. It can be loud noises, things on the telly, the Liverpool bomb. Visual things. I need someone to go into my head and stop them.”
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