Piers Morgan said it is ‘an absolute disgrace’ that the convicted terrorist behind the London Bridge attack was allowed to walk free from prison halfway through his previous sentence.
Saskia Jones, 23, and Jack Merritt, 25, were fatally stabbed by Usman Khan at a prisoner rehabilitation conference at Fishmongers’ Hall.
Khan, 28, was on licence and wearing an electronic monitoring tag when he launched the knife attack which also injured a number of others on Friday afternoon.
He was handed an indeterminate sentence for public protection – meaning he could be kept behind bars for as long as he is determined a risk to the public – with a minimum term of eight years in 2012.
That related to his involvement in an al-Qaida-inspired plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange and build a terrorist training camp on land in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir owned by his family.
But his sentence was quashed by the Court of Appeal in April 2013 and replaced with a determinate 16-year jail term under legislation which meant he was released automatically at the halfway point.
The latest attack has prompted the Ministry of Justice to review the licence conditions of every convicted terrorist released from prison, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson said was ‘probably about 74’ people.
Speaking about the atrocity on Good Morning Britain, host Piers called the decision to allow Khan to walk free after eight years ‘an absolute disgrace’.
He also hit out at the senior appeal judge of the three who quashed the original indefinite sentence, Lord Justice Leveson. .
The same judge later oversaw a public inquiry into press standards in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.
Piers said: ‘Lord Leveson was running the appeal court that heard that hearing and decided to reduce it from indeterminate to let him basically get out after eight years.
‘Lord Leveson had many difficult questions for the press – I’ve got some for him.
‘Where is he? Where is Lord Leveson?’
When co-host Susanna Reid commented that she wanted to know what checks Khan was subjected to on his release, Piers asked what was being done to watch him in the days and weeks before the attack.
‘Who was following him? This guy had a tag apparently. Where was it attached to? This guy had a tag – how was he allowed to commit murder?,’ he continued.
‘Who’s following him? Who’s taking an interest in him? Who knows what he’s up to?
‘Where are the other 74 very dangerous people that Boris Johnson has now conceded have been released?
‘Where are they?’
Piers called for extremists to be locked up indefinitely until ‘professional experts’ deem there is ‘zero chance’ they will ever reoffend.
‘How can they possibly know that after eight years?’ he added.
On February 1, 2012, Khan was one of nine men who admitted a variety of terrorist offences, with Khan pleading guilty to a lesser charge of engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism between November 1 and December 21, 2010.
He and two others, known as the Stoke defendants in the plot, were originally given indeterminate sentences with a minimum term of eight years rather than a fixed term.
Khan was handed the indeterminate sentence after trial judge Mr Justice Wilkie concluded it was required to protect the public, as Khan had a ‘serious long-term plan’ and a commitment to terrorism.
The others, known as the London defendants, were given determinate, or fixed-term sentences, related to a more short-term plan to send a pipe bomb to the London Stock Exchange or possession of terrorist magazines.
Khan, along with two co-defendants, appealed their sentences and had the indeterminate sentences dropped by the Court of Appeal in 2013.
Lord Justice Leveson found the original decision had ‘wrongly characterised’ the three as more dangerous than the others and ruled they should be given determinate extended sentences.