West­min­ster ter­ror­ist was ‘legally killed’

i Newspaper - - NEWS - By Emily Pennink

The 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 car, killing four peo­ple and se­ri­ously in­jur­ing 29.

He crashed into rail­ings be­fore storm­ing through gates near the Houses of Par­lia­ment, armed with two knives. He fa­tally stabbed un­armed PC, Keith Palmer, be­fore be­ing shot dead by a body­guard. The at­tack on 22 March last year took just 82 sec­onds.

A jury took two hours and 22 min­utes to find that Ma­sood was law­fully killed. 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 by po­lice 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 had killed PC Palmer and con­tin­ued to ad­vance, clutch­ing blood­ied foot-long knives, in­tent on tar­get­ing more of­fi­cers.

Af­ter the ver­dict, As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Neil Basu, the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice’s coun­tert­er­ror­ism chief who headed the in­quiry into the at­tack, crit­i­cised “ab­hor­rent re­marks” lev­elled at a se­nior of­fi­cer, Sir Craig Mackey, who stayed in his car as an un­armed PC was stabbed to death.

Speak­ing out­side the Old Bai­ley, Mr Basu paid trib­ute to the brav­ery of his of­fi­cers and said his thoughts re­mained with the vic­tims of Ma­sood’s “bar­baric ac­tions”.

“Both I and the in­ves­ti­ga­tors both know there is noth­ing that Craig could have done to have stopped Ma­sood or to have saved PC Palmer or any oth­ers from be­ing in­jured.” Sir Craig, the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice’s Deputy Com­mis­sioner, and se­vere crit­i­cism on so­cial me­dia af­ter he told the in­quest he had stayed in his of­fi­cial car as Ma­sood mur­dered PC Palmer.

STE­FAN ROUSSEAU/PA

A po­lice­man takes aim at Khalid Ma­sood

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