In a reminder that truth can, indeed, be stranger than fiction, it turns out that a British man who was hailed as a hero for bravely tackling a crazed terrorist is himself a convicted murderer.
Now, because of his selfless gallantry, he has had his prison sentence reduced and will be able to apply for parole in June next year.
Approved by the Queen
This is very rarely granted to a convicted murderer – the last time was almost 25 years ago – and must be officially approved by the Queen.
Steven Gallant, aged 42, was one of two civilians who famously used a tusk from a narwal (a toothed whale found in Arctic waters) to pin down Usman Khan, who was armed with two knives and attacking people at random at London Bridge in 2019 in an act of terrorism.
He was also wearing what appeared to be an explosives vest typically used by suicide bombers. It later turned out to be a fake, although nobody knew this at the time.
On day release from prison
When Gallant decided to intervene, he was attending a conference about the rehabilitation of prisoners and had been allowed out of prison on what is known as ‘day release’.
He and another civilian, Darryn Frost, used the tusk which was an ornament at the conference venue known as Fishmongers’ Hall, to keep Usman from attacking more people on London Bridge.
Police officers then arrived, pulled the civilians away, and shot Usman dead as they believed he may detonate the vest.
In all, two civilians died in the attack and three were injured.
Shows that people change
In a statement at the time, Gallant said: “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.”
In yet another twist to the tale, Gallant’s reduced sentence has been okayed by the family of the man he murdered outside a pub in the city of Hull, firefighter Barrie Jackson.
Jackson’s son, Jack, said: “I have mixed emotions – but what happened at London Bridge goes to show the reality that people can change.”
Gallant’s solicitor, Neil Hudgell, added: “Steve feels a debt of gratitude to all those who helped him to achieve a royal prerogative of mercy. He is passionate about using his knowledge and experiences to help others steer away from crime.”