Westminster terrorist was ‘legally killed’
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.
A policeman takes aim at Khalid Masood