A 'package of measures to strengthen every element' of the UK’s response to terrorism is being put in place after three people were stabbed.
A 'package of measures to strengthen every element' of the UK’s response to terrorism is being put in place after three people were stabbed.

London attack: UK to overhaul terrorism response

Britain was set to overhaul its sentencing laws after a second convicted terror plotter was able to carry out an attack following his automatic release from jail.

Sudesh Amman, 19, was shot dead by police after he stabbed two people on Streatham High Road in south London street early yesterday Australian time - just days after being let out of prison.

He was jailed in 2018 for terror offences including telling his girlfriend to behead her parents, sharing terrorist propaganda on a family WhatsApp group and writing that his life goals were to be a martyr.

However, he was automatically released halfway through his sentence under controversial UK laws in a similar way to Usman Khan, who killed two people in a London Bridge terror attack two months ago.

Sudesh Amman, who is understood to be the man who was shot dead by armed police in Streatham High Road, south London.
Sudesh Amman, who is understood to be the man who was shot dead by armed police in Streatham High Road, south London.

 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who demanded tougher sentences after Khan's attack, said "fundamental changes" were needed.

"An investigation is taking place at pace to establish the full facts of what happened, and the Government will provide all necessary support to the police and security services as this work goes on," he said in a statement.

"Following the awful events at Fishmonger's Hall (London Bridge), we have moved quickly to introduce a package of measures to strengthen every element of our response to terrorism - including longer prison sentences and more money for the police."

Forensic officers examining the scene where a man was shot and killed by armed police in London. Picture: Hollie Adams/Getty
Forensic officers examining the scene where a man was shot and killed by armed police in London. Picture: Hollie Adams/Getty

Amman was under active police surveillance at the time of the attack, so officers were able to respond in less than two minutes of him grabbing a knife from a shop and stabbing a man and a woman about 2pm local time Sunday (1am AEDT Monday).

A third person was injured by broken glass after police fired at Amman.

Footage of the attack showed plain clothes police swoop on the terrorist.

One plain clothed police officer switches caps to a police issue before drawing his weapon, while another arrives on a motorbike seconds later.

Amman, who had a fake bomb vest strapped to his chest, was killed outside a Boots pharmacy.

The attack was surprising because it was on a suburban street in the rough diamond city suburb, which is beginning to be gentrified, instead of at a major landmark such as London Bridge or the Tube, like other incidents.

Police forensic officers working near the scene of a stabbing incident in Streatham, London. Picture: Alberto Pezzali
Police forensic officers working near the scene of a stabbing incident in Streatham, London. Picture: Alberto Pezzali

Deputy assistant commissioner of special operations at London's Metropolitan Police Lucy D'Orsi said three people were taken by ambulance to hospitals following the attack.

"Armed officers, who were part of a proactive counter-terrorism surveillance operation and were following the suspect on foot, were in immediate attendance and shot a male suspect dead at the scene," she said.

"The suspect had been recently released from prison where he had been serving a sentence for Islamist-related terrorism offences.

"The officers saw that a device was strapped to his body and called in specialist explosives officers and additional armed officers to deal with the potential threat that posed."

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A man in his 40s and a woman in his 40s were stabbed but did not suffer life threatening injuries, while a third woman was hurt by broken glass after police shot the terrorists.

Assistant commissioner D'Orsi confirmed the terrorist was Sudesh Amman, aged 20.

She said Amman was wearing a "hoax" suicide vest.

"We are confident that this is an isolated incident that has been contained," she added.

Heather Elliott, 26, was with her six-month-old baby son on the bus when she heard of the attack.

"I got a phone call from my partner and she said it was a terror attack, are you OK?" she said.

Ms Elliott said she wanted to know why police had not acted before Amman attacked.

"MI6 know these people. For the police to get here so quick they must have known he was here," she said.

Police aim their guns at the man suspected of stabbing three people on a busy London street in a “terrorist related” incident. Picture: Supplied
Police aim their guns at the man suspected of stabbing three people on a busy London street in a “terrorist related” incident. Picture: Supplied

Paul Courtney, 46, of Streatham, said he had lived in the area for 26 years and had never seen anything so bad.

"I feel a little bit uneasy about it. It's a little bit odd that it's kicked off around here," he said.

Javed Merchant said he was just a few metres away from one of the victims.

Daniella, who asked for her surname not to be used, said she came out from her flat when she heard screaming before realising it was a terror attack.

A police forensic officer working near the scene of the stabbing incident in Streatham, London. Picture: Alastair Grant
A police forensic officer working near the scene of the stabbing incident in Streatham, London. Picture: Alastair Grant

Amman was described as having a "fascination with dying in the name of terrorism" following his trial in 2018.

"Amman had scrawled his 'life goals' in the notepad and top of the list, above family activities, was dying a martyr and going to 'Jannah' - the afterlife," Acting Commander Alexis Boon, head of the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command, said at the time of the court hearing.