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The ex-partner of a firefighter murdered by London Bridge terror attack hero Steven Gallant said she is struggling to process the news of his release from prison.
Vicky Foster, whose ex-partner Barrie Jackson was beaten to death by Gallant in a 2005 attack in Hull, has previously said his actions on London Bridge were ‘not enough proof’ of his reform.
It comes as Gallant was given early release from his 17-year murder sentence, after using a narwhal tusk in a bid to take down Fishmonger’s Hall jihadist Usman Khan during his deadly 2019 terror attack.
Speaking from her home in Hull, Mrs Foster, who had two children with Mr Jackson, said: “I need a bit more time to think about what has happened here, it is a very strange thing for me and the children to have to process.
‘Every time this is in the news it brings it all back for me and the kids and that’s obviously difficult.
‘It’s not something I want to talk about, at the moment I’m trying to let it sink in.”
Vicky Foster whose firefighter ex-partner was murdered by London Bridge terror attack hero Steven Gallant (left) said she is struggling to process the news of his release from prison
Pictured: Fishmongers Hall attacker Usman Khan being detained by Steve Gallant and others
Firefighter Barrie Jackson had been enjoying a night of drinking in The Dolphin, in Greenwich Avenue, Hull, on the night of Sunday, April 24, 2005.
But just at 10.30pm, before he could finish his drinks and make his way home, he had been attacked and beaten so severely paramedics who tried to revive him could not find his mouth.
Pictured: Vicky Foster has said she is struggling to process the early release of her ex-partner’s killer
Mr Jackson had been sprayed with CS gas and beaten to the ground with a hammer by two men, including Gallant. The pair lay in wait for Mr Jackson outside the Dolphin pub after believing he had attacked Gallant’s girlfriend.
After a city-wide police hunt, Jackson’s murderers were finally found.
The attack was deemed to have been pre-meditated and co-ordinated, as the men had laid in wait for Jackson, and continued to attack him despite him trying to run away.
A post-mortem revealed every bone in his face had been broken.
Steve Gallant and Daniel Gilligan, both of east Hull, were eventually convicted of murder, and ordered to spend at least 17 years behind bars.
Barrie Jackson was sprayed with CS gas and beaten to the ground with a hammer by two men – including Gallant. He was so badly beaten paramedics struggled to find his mouth
But 15 years after entering prison aged 28, Gallant would find himself back out on the streets, saving the lives of innocent citizens.
Writing in The Hull Story last year, Vicky revealed she had not a clue that the man who confronted Khan with a narwhal tusk was the same one who had killed her partner.
At the time, she said: ‘I was drawn in by images of a man on London Bridge tackling an armed terrorist with a narwhal tusk.
‘A light in the middle of a tragic event. A video to share on social media, show to your friends and then forget about.
‘It appeared to be a clear-cut case of good triumphing over evil; a physical, decisive, spur-of-the-moment act that saved lives.
‘But then in January this year word came to me that the hero I’d admired was actually one of the men who murdered the father of my children. I tried to brush it off at first; get on with other things.
Khan is confronted by armed police on London Bridge following attack at Fishmongers’ Hall
‘The past is the past and there’s nothing I can do about it. But it wasn’t that simple.
‘You see, when extreme violence enters your life, everything you think you know is shattered. Everything becomes harder.’
Ms Foster said that her family had been hugely impacted by the coverage of Steven Gallant in the news.
She said: ‘Despite letters from my MP Dame Diana Johnson, explaining this to members of the government – including Boris Johnson – we have had no contact or consideration in their processes whatsoever.
‘Gallant no doubt helped save lives on London Bridge last year, but he has also caused lifelong damage to myself and my family.’
Vicky said: ‘I find it difficult to understand how one violent man can be held up as an example of what rehabilitation can do, while it’s suggested that another deserved to meet with the brutal murder that man committed.
Pictured: terrorist Usman Khan who was killed by police on London Bridge
‘Logic alone means those two things cannot both be true. It just makes more distress and trauma that we’ve had to work through.
‘Myself and my boys definitely did not and do not deserve that, or the added trauma that this year of news has caused us.’
Gallant was one of three men who restrained terrorist Khan until armed police arrived at the scene and shot the 28-year-old jihadist dead in November 2019.
Khan, who had two large knives and a fake suicide belt, fatally stabbed Cambridge graduates Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, and injured three other people during his frenzied attack at a prisoner rehabilitation event, before running out onto London Bridge.
Giving evidence at the inquest in April this year into the victims’ deaths, Mr Gallant said he ‘whacked’ Khan with a narwhal tusk but was empty-handed by the time of the battle on the bridge.
A spokesperson for the Parole Board said: ‘We can confirm that a panel of the Parole Board has directed the release of Steven Gallant following an oral hearing.
‘Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.
‘A panel will carefully examine a huge range of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behaviour change, as well as explore the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims.’
The decision on release is provisional for 21 days subject to any appeal by the Justice Secretary.
Mr Gallant had been on day release at the event for reformed prisoners in Fishmongers’ Hall when he helped end Khan’s rampage. His actions on the day later saw his sentence cut following an intervention by the Queen.
Narwhal tusk, which was used by members of the public as they tackled terrorist Usman Khan
The Ministry of Justice revealed in October that the monarch had employed the little-used ‘Royal Prerogative of Mercy’ to bring Mr Gallant’s case before the Parole Board 10 months early.
It was considered at a remote oral hearing on June 21, during which Mr Gallant gave evidence.
In a summary of the Parole Board’s decision, it said the panel had recognised his conduct during the Fishmongers’ Hall incident but ‘was clear that it was not a reason to direct his release’.
The board said professional witnesses had recommended Mr Gallant be released on licence, telling the panel he had ‘worked hard to understand and address his risk factors and to bring about a change to his life’.
Of its decision, the board said: ‘After considering the circumstances of his index offending, his pattern of previous offending, the progress made while in custody, the details of the release plan and all the evidence presented at the hearing, the panel was satisfied that Mr Gallant was suitable for release.’
Conditions of his release on licence would include a curfew, staying at a designated address and to comply with an exclusion zone to avoid contact with his victim’s family.
Source: Daily Mail