Amongmembers of the publicwho confrontedLondon Bridge attacker Usman Khanwere former prisoners attending a rehabilitation event at Fishmongers’ Hall, including a man convicted of killing a young woman.
James Ford, 42, was out on day release when he joined those who chased Khan out on to the street before he was pinned to the ground on Friday afternoon.
Ford was jailed for life with a minimum of 15 years in 2004 for the murder of Amanda Champion, who had a mental age of 15.
It is thought Ford rushed to the scene and tried to save the life of a female victim of Khan. Sources said his actions during the attack had probably saved lives.
But Ms Champion’s family expressed concern that Hall had been allowed on day release from prison without his victims’ relatives being informed in advance.
Ms Champion was found strangled and with her throat cut on waste ground near her home in Ashford, Kent, in July 2003.
Police had no leads in the case until a Samaritans worker broke the organization’s strict confidentiality policy and revealed that Ford, a factory worker and amateur wrestler, had called and confessed: “I’ve killed a girl.”
In the month after murdering Amanda, Ford phoned the charity line 45 times, telling staff he was feeling suicidal. After he admitted his crime, the Samaritans worker – who was later forced out of his job – decided to go to police.
Ms Champion’s family had tried to block Ford’s parole, and only found out he had been released from his sentence in a call from their police liaison officer on Friday, warning them his image was on television reports of the attack.
Ford was serving the final days of his sentence at HMP Standford Hill, an open prison in Kent, when he was allowed to attend the event.
Ms Champion’s aunt Angela Cox, 65, told the Daily Mail: “He is not a hero. He is a murderer out on day release, which us as a family didn’t know anything about. He murdered a disabled girl. He is not a hero, absolutely not.
“I am so angry. They let him out without even telling us. Any of my family could have been in London and just bumped into him. It was a hell of a shock. It is a horrible thing. I don’t care what he’s done today, he’s a murderer. ”