Attacks in Westminster – What went on and why?
On Wednesday the 22nd March a terrorist attack took place where a man named Khalid Masood killed four people in a mere 82 seconds. The police said the attack began at 14:40:08 when the hire car Khalid Masood rented mounted the pavement on Westminster Bridge, weaving along the footpath and road for 30 seconds until he crashed into the perimeter fence of the Palace of Westminster, he then left the car at 14:40:51 and 39 seconds later was shot by a police firearms officer, who was part of the close protection team of the defense secretary, Sir Michael Fallon. Police are trying to establish whether he had been inspired by terrorist propaganda or if others encouraged, supported or directed him.
After crashing his hired Hyundai SUV into the railings in front of Parliament Yard, he burst through the gate to the Palace of Westminster with two large knives where he stabbed an unarmed police officer named PC Keith Palmer who was just 48 years old. He later died from his injuries.
The consequences of the attack are five deaths (including Khalid Masood himself) and fifty people were injured. Also, 15 people are still being treated in hospital.
Three members of the public died following the car rampage on Westminster Bridge. They were: mother-of-two Aysha Frade from London; US tourist Kurt Cochran from Utah and Leslie Rhodes, 75, from Streatham, South London.
PC Palmer and Khalid Masood also died despite attempts by paramedics to save them both.
Before the attack he had a string of criminal convictions including GBH, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences, but he had not been convicted of any terrorism offences.
Masood’s first conviction was in November 1983 for criminal damage and his last conviction was in December 2003 for possession of a knife. He was investigated by MI5 some years ago over concerns of violent extremism but was no longer deemed to be a threat.
Police have seized 2,700 items in searches about the attack, including “massive amounts of computer data.” Approximately 3,500 witnesses – including 1,000 from Westminster Bridge and 2,500 from with the Parliamentary estate, have contacted police about the attack and their view on it.
By Jack and Ben – Correspondents for the General News section