A terrorist who killed four people and injured forty others in yesterday’s ‘depraved’ attack in Westminster has been named by police. Khalid Masood, 52, who was born in Kent and is believed to have been living in the West Midlands, was a career criminal with a series of previous convictions. Scotland Yard named the Westminster attacker hours after Theresa May told MPs that the man responsible had previously been investigated by MI5. In her statement to the Commons, the PM also paid tribute to the dead police officer, PC Keith Palmer, who she said was ‘every inch a hero’. Aysha Frade, 43, who worked at a college in Westminster, Kurt Cochran, an American tourist, and 75-year-old Leslie Rhodes, from Streatham in south London, were also named among the dead.
Those injured included a dozen Brits, three French children, two Romanians, four South Koreans, two Greeks, and one person each from Germany, Poland, Ireland, China, Italy and the United States. The Prime Minister confirmed that the attacker, who was shot dead by police, had previously been investigated for ‘violent extremism’ but was ‘not part of the current intelligence picture’.
Police said that eight people have so far been arrested in connection with the attack as officers raided properties in London and Birmingham. The Met’s head of Counter Terrorism, Mark Rowley said they believe the ‘attacker acted alone and was inspired by international terrorism’.
The attack unfolded yesterday afternoon when a rented 4×4 car was driven into pedestrians, including three police officers, on the pavement of Westminster Bridge before the vehicle crashed into railings outside Parliament. A man armed with a knife then emerged from the car and ran into the entrance of the Palace of Westminster, where he fatally stabbed the unarmed officer before being shot. Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood gave first aid to the injured officer in the aftermath of the attack. In an emotionally-charged statement on the steps of Downing Street last night, Theresa May said:
‘The location of this attack was no accident. The terrorists chose to strike at the heart of our Capital City, where people of all nationalities, religions and cultures come together to celebrate the values of liberty, democracy and freedom of speech. These streets of Westminster – home to the world’s oldest Parliament – are engrained with a spirit of freedom that echoes in some of the furthest corners of the globe. And the values our Parliament represents – democracy, freedom, human rights, the rule of law – command the admiration and respect of free people everywhere.’
That is why it is a target for those who reject those values.
But let me make it clear today, as I have had cause to do before: any attempt to defeat those values through violence and terror is doomed to failure.
The House of Commons was immediately suspended and its lockdown procedure initiated. The Prime Minister was bundled into a car and evacuated from Parliament at around 2.40pm, just after the attack took place. The Scottish Parliament, which was about to vote on a second independence referendum, was also suspended for the day, as was the Welsh Assembly. Parliament sat as normal today with MPs gathering at 9.30am for a minute’s silence to those who lost their lives.
Here is the latest footage and photographs from the scene in Westminster:
Radek Sikorski, former Foreign Minister of Poland, tweeted this video in the aftermath of the incident of passer-by helping the wounded.
A car on Westminster Bridge has just mowed down at least 5 people. pic.twitter.com/tdCR9I0NgJ
— Radosław Sikorski (@sikorskiradek) March 22, 2017
Inside parliament, heavily-armed anti-terror officers have been searching the building. Journalists are not allowed to publish photographs from inside parliament, but MPs are doing so instead:
— George Freeman MP (@Freeman_George) March 22, 2017
MPs, journalists and Parliamentary staff remain within Parliament and are not being allowed to leave the building:
Footage shows the House of Commons in lockdown after gunshots heard outside in Westminster pic.twitter.com/HGvrzwmTu2
— Press Association (@PA) March 22, 2017
While MPs have been ordered to stay put inside the Commons chamber:
— Barry Sheerman (@BarrySheerman) March 22, 2017
Outside Parliament, an air ambulance was filmed arriving at the scene in Westminster:
Helicopter landing on Parliament Square with emergency services. pic.twitter.com/g3LqOwp6bR
— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson) March 22, 2017
Here are the latest pictures from the scene: