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Murderer who helped stop London Bridge attacker granted royal pardon

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File photo: Flowers are left in memory of Jack Merritt, who was the first victim to be named after the attack on London Bridge. London, Dec. 1, 2019.
File photo: Flowers are left in memory of Jack Merritt, who was the first victim to be named after the attack on London Bridge. London, Dec. 1, 2019.   -   Copyright  AP/Alberto Pezzali
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A convicted murderer who helped to stop an attack on London Bridge, armed with a narwhal tusk, has been granted a royal pardon and will be considered for parole 10 months early.

Steven Gallant, who is serving a 17-year sentence in the UK for the murder of firefighter Barrie Jackson, has been granted the rare royal prerogative of mercy.

While out on day release at a prisoner rehabilitation event in November 2019, the 47-year-old confronted Usman Khan after he began stabbing people. Gallant was widely praised for his actions.

Footage from the attack showed Gallant and two others restraining Khan on London Bridge.

"The lord chancellor has granted Steven Gallant a Royal Prerogative of Mercy reducing his minimum tariff by 10 months in recognition of his exceptionally brave actions at Fishmongers' Hall, which helped save people's lives despite the tremendous risk to his own," a Ministry of Justice spokesperson said.

Gallant and another man were in 2005 jailed for the murder of Jackson, 33, outside a pub in Hull.

UK law means that Gallant's Parole Board will now decide if he is to be released early.

Jackson's son Jack, 21, told British tabloid the Daily Mirror: "In my mind, Gallant has nearly done his time and if someone has undergone rehabilitation and change, which it seems he has, then it's fair enough."

London Bridge attacker Khan, who was also attending the prisoner rehabilitation event, pulled out two knives, attacking and killing Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23.

Gallant, using a large, ornamental narwhal tusk from a wall as a weapon, chased the attacker onto the bridge where Khan was shot dead by police.

Merritt's father David told the Mirror: "Steve fully deserves this pardon, or reduction in sentence.

"It is fantastic. He was very close to Jack and he turned his life around and reformed. I am really pleased for him."

In a 2019 statement, Gallant said he "didn’t hesitate" to confront Khan.

"I could tell something was wrong and had to help. I saw injured people. Khan was stood in the foyer with two large knives in his hands. He was a clear danger to all," he added.