Terrorist lawfully killed by officer
WESTMINSTER terrorist Khalid Masood was lawfully killed when he was shot dead by a minister’s bodyguard, an inquest jury has found.
The 52-year-old Muslim convert mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in a hired SUV, killing four and seriously injuring 29.
He crashed into railings before storming through gates near the Houses of Parliament armed with two knives.
He stabbed unarmed Pc Keith Palmer to death before being shot dead by a bodyguard who rushed to the scene.
The attack on March 22 last year took just 82 seconds.
A jury of seven men and four women took two hours and 22 minutes to find that Masood was lawfully killed, adding in a short narrative of the events leading to his death.
They found that Masood was intent on inflicting “serious harm” when he stormed through the gates to the Palace of Westminster. He had been issued with verbal warnings but “continued to move toward the close protection officers at speed” before he was shot, the jury said.
Earlier, Coroner Mark Lucraft QC had directed the jury to return a lawful killing verdict as the bodyguard who shot Masood believed it was necessary to open fire in defence of himself and others.
The inquest heard dramatic accounts of how unarmed police officers and members of the public fled after Masood killed Pc Palmer and continued to advance, clutching bloodied foot-long knives, intent on targeting more officers.
His rampage was stopped by a close protection officer identified only as SA74, on site to act as bodyguard to a government minister.
The officer shot him three times with a Glock pistol after Masood continued to run forward at him, despite shouted warnings to “get back”.
SA74 gave an emotional account of how the drama unfolded, pausing during his evidence and his voice wavering as he recalled: “I was certain that something terrible was happening.”
“I saw a large black male running purposefully towards me. He was carrying two large knives and I could clearly see that they were covered in blood,” he told the Old Bailey. “He was going to kill me.”
Jurors were shown dramatic footage of the bodyguard and his colleague SB73 confronting the heavily built attacker, who slumped to the ground after he was shot.
Amid fears he was wearing a suicide belt, Masood was handcuffed and given first aid by the marksman and his colleague.
Masood’s five victims were Pc Palmer, 48, American tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes, 75, motherof-two Aysha Frade, 44, and Romanian designer Andreea Cristea, 31.