Jack Merritt, 25, and 23-year-old Saskia Jones were both graduates of the university and were involved in the institute’s ‘Learning Together’ program focusing on prisoner rehabilitation.
The program had been hosting an event at Fishmonger’s Hall, a building on London Bridge, where police say the attack began.
According to police, Jones had been working as a volunteer for the program.
In a statement provided to police, Jones’ family said she was a “funny, kind, positive influence” who was “at the centre of many people’s lives.”
“She had a wonderful sense of mischievous fun and was generous to the point of always wanting to see the best in all people,” the statement reads.
Her family said she was “intent on living life to the full” and had a “wonderful thirst for knowledge” which enabled her to be the “best she could be.”
“Saskia had a great passion for providing invaluable support to victims of criminal injustice, which led her to the point of recently applying for the police graduate recruitment program, wishing to specialize in victim support,” the family said.
In a statement released Sunday, Loraine Gelsthorpe, professor and Director of the Institute of Criminology at Cambridge University said Jones’ “warm disposition and extraordinary intellectual creativity was combined with a strong belief that people who have committed criminal offences should have opportunities for rehabilitation.”
Gelsthorpe said the ‘Learning Together’ community “valued her contributions enormously” and were “inspired by her determination to push towards the good.”
Merritt worked as a co-ordinator for the group.
In a statement provided to police, Merritt’s family said he was a “beautiful, talented boy” who “died doing what he loved, surrounded by people he loved and who loved him.”
“He lit up our lives and the lives of his many friends and colleagues, and we will miss him terribly,” the statement reads. “Jack lived his principles; he believed in redemption and rehabilitation, not revenge, and he always took the side of the underdog.”
His family says he was an “intelligent, thoughtful and empathetic person” who was looking forward to building a future with his girlfriend, Leanne, and building a career helping people in the criminal justice system.
In her statement, Gelsthorpe said the institute will miss Merritt’s “quiet humour and rigorous intellect.”
“Jack’s passion for social and criminal justice was infectious,” she wrote. “He was deeply creatively and courageously engaged with the world, advocating for a politics of love.”
“He worked tirelessly in dark places to pull towards the light.”
In a tweet on Sunday, London mayor Sadiq Khan said the “thoughts of all Londoners are with the families and loved ones” of Merritt and Jones.
“They will forever be in our hearts,” he wrote. “Terrorism has no place in our society and we stand resolute against it.”
Jones and Merritt were fatally stabbed on Friday by 28-year-old Usman Khan from Staffordshire.
According to Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the attack began at Fishmonger’s Hall.
“We believe that the attack began inside before he left the building and proceeded onto London Bridge,” Basu said.
Video footage at the scene shows members of the public armed with a narwhal tusk and a fire extinguisher confront Khan, before he is taken to the ground.
Basu said Khan appeared to have an explosive strapped to his chest, however, officers determined to be a “hoax device.”
According to Basu, Khan was detained and “subsequently confronted and shot by armed officers.”
Police say Khan was pronounced dead on the bridge.
Convicted in 2012 for terrorism offences, Khan was known to U.K. authorities, Basu said. However, he had been released in 2018.
The Islamic State has said the attack was carried out by one of its fighters, however, the group did not provide any evidence.
The attack has now sparked political debate surrounding the early release of convicted criminals, with some calling for more stringent rules surrounding prisoner release.
On Sunday, police also provided an update on the three other individuals injured in the attack.
Officers say one of the injured has returned home while the other two remain in hospital for treatment but are in stable condition.