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The inquest into the deaths of eight people in a terrorist attack on the London Bridge on June 3, 2017, is currently underway in Old Bailey, London. During the deposition by one of the witnesses in the inquest, it has come out that the Scotland Yard had a prior warning about at least one of the terrorists, Khuram Butt, prior to the attack, but they chose not to act upon it. The implications of this piece of information coming to light is that the deadly attack could potentially have been prevented if more alertness was shown by the Counter Terrorism Command at the Yard. However, it does open up a whole new debate on how such issues are dealt with.
Relative Made a Call to Anti-Terrorist Hotline
Usman Darr, who is a brother of Khuram Butt, had called the anti-terrorist hotline at the Metropolitan Police in September 2015. Darr had warned the police that Butt appeared to be involved in planning an attack in the UK. Following the attack, there were two reports on the incident, one tabled by a Parliamentary committee and the other by the UK government. Surprisingly, both failed to make any mention of this key warning in their reports. This means the information regarding the phone call was not presented to them by the police. Another more shocking bit of information revealed is that Khuram Butt had committed murder during the period between 2015 and 2017, even while MI5 and the police were keeping a watch over him.
Investigations Launched but Not Pursued
Much of these details emerged from one witness, who is a senior detective attached to the Counter-Terrorism section of the Metropolitan Police. The detective’s name is not being revealed. This witness is the one who mentioned the telephone call on the hotline from the terrorist’s brother-in-law and the subsequent actions initiated. The detective agreed with the counsel to the inquests, Jonathan Hough QC, that the department could have done more than it did on the matter. One of the points cited was that the investigation was directed more towards a terrorist group named al-Muhajiroun, with which Butt is said to have been associated. The detective said human error could have crept in. There were resource constraints too following a spate of terrorist attacks including in Paris, that the focus on Khuram Butt was diverted.
The inquest continues with the MI5 expected to be deposed next.