Published: 13:34, 02 December 2019
| Updated: 13:34, 02 December 2019
A convicted murderer who tackled the London Bridge terrorist "deserves to rot and die in prison", according to his victim's family.
James Ford, who brutally strangled 21-year-old Amanda Champion and slashed her throat in Ashford 16 years ago, was on day release on Friday when Usman Khan launched his deadly knife attack.
Despite the attacker wearing a suicide vest - later found to be a hoax - Ford, 42, intervened and helped tackle the terrorist until police arrived.
Initially hailed as a hero, his dark past soon emerged.
A statement sent to KentOnline by Jo Champion, Amanda's cousin, said: "As a family this has opened up the murder of Amanda again and we are disgusted that James Ford, a convicted murderer, is being called a hero.
"He deserves life in prison.
"Our family will never forgive or ever get over the fact he murdered Amanda in a cold-blooded attack and we as a family are disgusted that none of the family was informed James Ford was even out in the community.
"He's scum, he deserves to rot and die in prison.
"Life should be life and the only good thing that has come out of this is his face is now out there, so people now know he is a convicted murderer who murdered a vulnerable girl who never did any harm to anyone."
A memorial bench was erected for Amanda Champion, who lived in Alfred Road and had a mental age of 15, however it had to be replaced after vandals broke it in July last year.
Amanda had been reported missing 11 days before her body was found on land off Mead Road near The Albion pub in South Willesborough in July 2003.
Chris Pimm, a family friend and a campaigner for the replacement bench, said Ford, who was jailed for life in 2004, "shouldn't be out".
"It's an absolute disgrace that he's allowed out on day release in London where Amanda's family members often go," he said.
"The family should've been notified the murderer of their loved one was out on day release.
"They should have a say or be able to do something about it."
Since last week's attack, which saw two killed and three injured, it has been revealed that Khan had been sentenced for terror offences in 2012.
He had been released six years into a 16-year sentence, and was wearing a tag at the time of the incident.
More by this authorCharlie Harman