UK Westminster terror attack: Victims’ inquest to begin
GB news 24 desk//
An inquest into the deaths of the five people killed in the Westminster terror attack is due to start later.
Kurt Cochran, Leslie Rhodes, Aysha Frade, and Andreea Cristea were run down and killed by Khalid Masood on Westminster Bridge on 21 March 2017.
Masood also stabbed and killed PC Keith Palmer in the forecourt of the Palace of Westminster, before being shot dead by armed police officers.
The inquest at the Old Bailey is expected to last up to five weeks.
A separate inquest into the death of Masood will take place shortly after.
The Chief Coroner of England and Wales, Mark Lucraft QC, will hold the inquest in Court One of the Old Bailey, beginning with a “pen portrait” of the victims – provided by their families.
The first witness will then be the senior detective who led the police investigation.
The coroner is expected to examine Masood’s background, police records, and look into the fact that he briefly featured in MI5 investigations in 2009 and 2010.
He will also look at why the protection of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge was not increased after the fatal vehicle attacks in Nice and Berlin in 2016, and how well PC Keith Palmer was protected – by his body armour and by armed officers serving in Westminster.
The court will be shown video footage of Masood hiring a car, buying knives and carrying out reconnaissance, as well as the attack itself.
Experts are expected to be called, including a psychologist, who has also been asked to prepare a “psychological autopsy” on Masood.
The attack in central London last year lasted 82 seconds.
In that time, 52-year-old Masood mounted the pavement in a rented Hyundai Tucson, drove into pedestrians, and crashed the car into railings outside the Houses of Parliament.
Mother-of-two Aysha Frade, 44, US tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, and retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes, 75, died after being hit on the bridge.
Romanian tourist Andreea Cristea was knocked into the Thames from the bridge. She died just over two weeks later.
After crashing, Masood got out of the car, ran around the fence and entered the Palace of Westminster’s Carriage Gate to continue his attack.
He then fatally stabbed PC Palmer, 48, who was unarmed.
Masood was shot dead by plain-clothed armed officers at 14:41 GMT.