Ter­ror­ist law­fully killed by of­fi­cer

Manchester Evening News - - NATIONAL -

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.

Khalid Ma­sood

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