Scottish Daily Mail
Muslim convert and ‘English teacher’ once called Adrian
Killer lived ‘like a shadow’ with 5 aliases and a thuggish past
THE fanatic behind the Westminster atrocity was unmasked last night as a Muslim convert with an appalling history of violent crime.
Khalid Masood, 52 – born Adrian Elms – unleashed his murderous rampage more than a decade after turning his back on his family in the Home Counties.
After amassing a series of criminal convictions, the father of three changed his name and spent years living in a series of terrorist hotbeds. The Daily Mail can reveal he used at least five aliases as he left a chaotic trail across Britain.
At one stage Masood was investigated by MI5, but was considered a ‘peripheral’ figure and ‘not part of the current intelligence picture’. And he did not feature on a secret blacklist of up to 3,000 people thought to be capable of mounting an attack.
Masood claimed to have worked as an English teacher, despite serving two jail sentences, including one for grievous bodily harm. There is no record of him working at any state schools.
Police confirmed he had a substantial criminal record for assaults, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences. His first conviction was for criminal damage in November 1983, when he was just 19. His last was in December 2003 for possession of a knife. He was never convicted of any offence linked to terrorism or violent extremism.
Up until Christmas, Masood lived in the Winson Green area of Birmingham where he shared a flat with a woman and their young child. Neighbours described him as a ‘very religious and well-spoken man’ who was always at the mosque on Fridays.
Iwona Romek, 45, said: ‘I saw him taking his children to school. He had a long beard like in the photo and he used to wear this long, Islamic dress. I saw him with a girl, maybe five or six, and a woman who was also covered. I saw her a few times. She appeared to be Asian – she wasn’t black.
‘She didn’t wear a burqa, she wore a blue headscarf that came all the way down. He seemed to be a very nice person.
‘When I was going out or arriving by car he was always friendly and smiling, and then he moved. I saw him taking all his things away about three months ago.’
Last night police were working around the clock to untangle the extraordinary background of the man behind the worst domestic terror attack since July 7, 2005.
Adrian Elms was born on Christmas Day 1964, in the Dartford area of Kent, to his unmarried mother. Twenty years later they moved to Tunbridge Wells where they set up home with his stepfather and two half-brothers. His mother now lives in rural west Wales with her husband, where she runs an online business selling handmade bags and cushions.
By now using the surname Ajao, Masood
‘Religious and well-spoken man’
met a woman and they had a child in 1992 before settling in the village of Northiam, near Hastings, East Sussex. What happens over the next decade is unclear, but in 2003, he was accused of stabbing a man in the face.
He was charged under his birth name with grievous bodily harm and wounding with intent after a 22-year-old man was found slumped in a driveway of a care home in Eastbourne, East Sussex.
Masood, who was running a television aerial installation business at the time, also faced charges of possessing offensive weapons, namely a knife and a baton. It is not known if he was convicted.
The next year, Masood cropped up in Medway, Kent, where he married a local Muslim woman. Six years later, he was living in Luton, which is known for its links to extremism.
But neighbours said they noticed ‘nothing untoward’ as he looked after two young children and spent hours tending his garden.
Teacher Katie Garricques, 48, said: ‘I’m actually shocked that I lived across the road from someone so awful. I’m proud to be from Luton and for it to be so diverse.’
But another neighbour said: ‘He was always shy. Sometimes I would see him walking around at night.
‘I didn’t see him during the day. He was like a shadow. It was hard to tell he was living there.’
Masood then moved to Birmingham where neighbours knew him as an avid Manchester United fan.
One said: ‘I used to go round there (to Masood’s house) to play football with his son, who was about seven. He had an older daughter. The dad was a big man but friendly. He would join in sometimes and show me some tricks.’
Last year, he was registered as living in a terraced house in West Ham, East London, but neighbours said they do not remember seeing him. By the time of the attack, Masood had abandoned his family and was living in a dingy bedsit above a shop in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham with several other men. Aged in their 20s, they are believed to be among those arrested during a series of raids in London, Sussex, Birmingham and Wales yesterday.
One resident said: ‘There were definitely two men and one woman and they were fairly young. There are horrible conditions up there and there have been problems with that row of flats before.’
Earlier this month, a detailed 1,000-page study revealed Birmingham as one of the terror capitals of the world. Between 1998 and 2015, 49 of the 269 people convicted of Islamist terrorism offences or killed as suicide bombers were from the West Midlands.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: ‘All I can tell you is what the police have said so far, which is that (Masood) was someone known to them but that he was on the periphery of the intelligence agencies. We’ll hear more from them in due course but we have to remember that this man was known to them partially because he had been in jail but not for terrorist offences.’
Scotland Yard said: ‘Masood was also known by a number of aliases. He was not the subject of any current investigations and there was no prior intelligence about his intent to mount a terrorist attack.’
Shashank Joshi, senior research fellow at security think-tank the Royal United Services Institute, said: ‘Masood is unusual in that only a minority become radicalised over the age of 30. His criminal record is unsurprising, as some studies shows that a significant proportion of jihadists have had prior convictions.’