A KILLER who murdered three people before he was shot dead by police has been named as a body-building obsessed married dad-of-three.
Muslim convert former English teacher Khalid Masood, 52, who mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before storming Parliament and stabbing a police officer to death, was born in Kent but later moved to the West Midlands.
Scotland Yard said serial offender Masood, who was born on Christmas Day, had previous convictions for assaults, including GBH, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences.
He had not been convicted of any terror offences, and was not subject to any investigations at the time of the atrocity.
Masood’s first conviction was in November 1983 for criminal damage and his last conviction was in December 2003 for possession of a knife.
The Met police said there was “no prior intelligence about his intent to mount a terrorist attack”.
They added: “Anyone with any information about Masood can call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline 0800 789 321.”
The killer was known by a number of aliases including Khalid Choudri, according to Sky News.
Theresa May earlier revealed MI5 intelligence chiefs had previously investigated 52-year-old Khalid Masood but dismissed him as a “peripheral figure”.
The murderous rampage was only stopped when the Defence Minister’s protection officer drew his gun, shooting the extremist up to three times.
Officials have now said the lone wolf maniac was inspired by “Islamic terrorism” and had been investigated for violent extremism by MI5 before he mowed down crowds on Westminster Bridge and stabbed cop Keith Palmer to death outside Parliament.
A Sky source, who met him, described him as a “big bloke” who looked like a bodybuilder “you wouldn’t want to mess with”.
He added that Masood was a “very religious, well spoken man. You couldn’t go to his home in Birmingham on Friday because he would be at prayer”.
The source also said he was a “religious convert”.
A stunned neighbour claimed she recognised the dead terrorist after he apparently lived next door to her in Winson Green, Birmingham.
Iwona Romek, who did not know the attacker’s name, described the killer as a dad who was a keen gardener.
The 45-year-old said the murderer “seemed to be quite nice” but suddenly moved out with his “young child and Asian wife”.
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She added: “When I saw the pictures on TV and in the papers of the man who carried out the attack, I recognised him as the man who used to live next door.
“I would see him quite often, but it would just be a ‘hello’ and a ‘how are you’.
“He had a young child, who I’d think was about five or six years old.
“There was a woman living there with him, an Asian woman.
“He seemed to be quite nice, he would be taking care of his garden and the weeds.
“He moved out in December, very soon. One day he was gone, there were delivery vans outside all of a sudden.
“Last night I just heard banging of the door and police shouting ‘open the door, open the door’.
“They were saying ‘it’s on the second floor’
“I heard the helicopters flying above too.
“Men were going in in the forensics outfits, it was very strange.
“I’m shaking and I’m nervous. I don’t know if I can live here anymore, I’ve been here
for 12 years.
“I just thought it was a normal family”.
Theresa May told Parliament this morning: “What I can confirm is the man was British-born and that some years ago he was once investigated by MI5 in relation to concerns about violent extremism.”
She said he was a “peripheral” figure, adding: “The case is historic.
“He is not part of the current intelligence picture. There was no prior intelligence of his intent or the plot.”
ISIS has now claimed responsibility for the attack, publishing a statement and claiming the attacker as a “soldier of the Islamic State”.
While vowing that Britain would not be cowed by the attack, the PM said that as a precautionary measure, more armed police will be rolled out as the country beefs up security.
Met with vocal support from other members of parliament, she said: “Yesterday we saw the worst of humanity, but we will remember the best.”
But she said that with no new intelligence to suggest another attack, the threat level to the UK would remain unchanged at “severe”.
It comes at it was revealed that Masood only got into Parliament when the gates were opened to let the Metropolitan Police chief Mark Rowley leave.
The details come after American tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, was named as the third victim of the horrific Westminster attack.
The revelations come after cops arrested eight people in raids on six different addresses across London, Carmarthenshire, Brighton and Birmingham in connection with yesterday’s bloody attack.
The three women and five men have been held on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts.
Police said a 39-year-old woman was arrested at an address in east London, a 21-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man were arrested at an address in Birmingham, a 26-year-old woman and three men aged 28, 27 and 26 years old were arrested at a separate address in Birmingham.
A 58-year-old man was also arrested this morning at a separate address in Birmingham on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts.
Mark Rowley, national lead for Counter Terrorism Policing and Met Acting Deputy Commissioner corrected earlier figures saying three innocent victims – PC Palmer, a woman in her mid 40s and a man in his mid 50s – were killed along with the attacker who was shot by cops.
The female victim was mum-of-two Aysha Frade, who is believed to have been picking up her children from school when she was killed in the horrific attack.
AMAQ News Agency says ISIS carried out London terror attack at Westminster
Scotland Yard confirm seven arrests in raids linked to Westminster terror attackPM Theresa May confirms MI5 know the identity of the Westminster terror attackerMr Rowley said 29 people are being treated in hospital, with five in a critical condition and two with life threatening injuries.
Theresa May has been visiting victims of the attack in hospital. The PM spent around 40 minutes with the injured victims talking to them about their harrowing experiences.
She also spoke to medical staff to thank them for their work, said her official spokesman, who declined to name the hospital where the private visit took place.
Many of those injured on Westminster Bridge were taken to St Thomas’ Hospital, which faces the Palace of Westminster across the Thames. Others went to King’s College Hospital and the Royal London Hospital.
Twelve Brits were injured, with police officers reportedly among those hurt, while nationals from France, Romania, China and America were also hurt.
The Romanian couple who were injured have been named as Andrei Burnaz and Andreea Cristea.
Andreea suffered multiple injuries and has undergone complex surgery after falling from Westminster Bridge while her boyfriend sustained a broken foot, according to the Romanian ambassador to the UK.
PC Keith Palmer’s devastated family have paid tribute to the fallen cop after he was stabbed to death by Masood yesterday.
They said in a statement: “Keith will be remembered as a wonderful dad and husband. A loving son, brother and uncle. A long-time supporter of Charlton FC.
“Dedicated to his job and proud to be a police officer, brave and courageous.
“A friend to everyone who knew him.
“He will be deeply missed. We love him so much.
“His friends and family are shocked and devastated by his loss and ask that they are left to grieve alone in peace.”
PC Keith Palmer’s former team lay a wreath in memory of those who lost their lives in Westminster terror attackPolice have been also been paying tribute to the dad, and the Met Police announced today they would retire the tragic cop’s shoulder number.
They tweeted: “As a mark of respect Keith’s shoulder number – 4157U – will be retired and not reissued to any other officer #WeRemember #WestminsterAttack”.
Today detectives and forensic teams continue to work in Westminster removing evidence from the scene of the atrocity.
Flags across the capital have been flying at half mast, with a minute’s silence held at 9.33am.
London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan announced a candlelit vigil will be held in Trafalgar Square at 6pm as he defiantly said “Londoners will not cower”.
The Queen has also released a statement, saying: “My thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathy are with all those who have been affected by yesterday’s awful violence.
“I know I speak for everyone in expressing my enduring thanks and admiration for the members of the Metropolitan Police Service and all who work so selflessly to help and protect others.”
PM Theresa May’s statement to Commons following Westminster terror attack
The Met’s SO15 counter-terrorist command have said they believe they know the identity of the terrorist fanatic.
Mr Rowley last night said: “It is still our belief – which continues to be born out by our investigation – that this attacker acted alone yesterday and was inspired by international terrorism.
“To be explicit – at this stage, we have no specific information about further threats to the public.
“Clearly our investigation is ongoing – developing all the time – and is focused on his motivation, his preparation and associates.”
Mr Rowley also reminded the public to be vigilant and report anything that causes concern or raises suspicions to police.
Anti-terror police raid in Birmingham linked to Westminster Parliament attackNeighbours recounted the dramatic moments police swooped in to search the Birmingham flat last night, with the homes near the car rental where the vehicle involved in the rampage had been hired from.
Dozens of officers equipped with machine guns were seen smashing their way into the flat just before midnight, with one witness saying that the man involved in the attack had lived there.
He said he saw three men arrested.
Anti-terror police raid in Birmingham linked to Westminster Parliament attackStuart Bailey, who lives four doors down, said: “There were a load of armed police in the street and on the pavement and I could see three or four in front of me.
“They were all dressed in black and armed with what looked like MP5s (submachine guns) and one of them had six ammunition magazines strapped to his leg.”
Police were still swarming at the site on Thursday morning, with one of the windows of the flat covered with cardboard.
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Overnight video of anti-terror police after Westminster linked raid in BirminghamA large cordon blocked off an area in Hagley Road in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham in the early hours of Thursday,
Pictures from inside the flat, which has six bedrooms, have also emerged.
One of the flat’s windows was covered in cardboard, with non-uniformed officers spotted taking pieces of equipment into the property.
The car used to carry out the slaughter – on the anniversary of the Brussels airport attack – was hired last Thursday in Birmingham, according to Newsnight.
Car hire firm Enterprise has confirmed that one of their cars had been rented out and used in the attack, saying in a statement: “We can confirm that the car used in the tragic attack in London yesterday afternoon was one of ours.
“An employee identified the vehicle after seeing the licence plate in an image online. We ran another check to verify, and immediately contacted the authorities.
“We are co-operating fully with the authorities and will provide any assistance that we can to the investigation.
“Our thoughts are very much with the victims of this terrible tragedy.”
Those injured in the Westminster Bridge attack
Theresa May has confirmed 29 people were hurt when the speeding car smashed into crowds on Westminster Bridge.
Seven remain in a critical condition.
The nationalities of those injured have been released, including:
- Twelve Brits
- Three French children
- Two Romanians
- Four South Koreans
- One German
- One Pole
- One Irish
- One Chinese
- One Italian
- One American
- Two Greeks
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan pays tribute to victims of Westminster terror attackLast night Theresa May held an emergency COBRA meeting following the attack, which she called “sick and depraved”.
In a statement from Downing Street, the Prime Minister said: “Any attempt to defeat those values through violence and terror is doomed to failure.
“Parliament will meet as normal.
“We will come together as normal.
“And Londoners – and others from around the world who have come here to visit this great city – will get up and go about their day as normal.
“They will board their trains, they will leave their hotels, they will walk these streets, they will live their lives.
“And we will all move forward together, never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.”
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Incoming Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick has praised the bravery of officers involved in yesterday’s attack.
In a message to staff she said: “One of our officers died protecting the public and Parliament. We will never forget his courage.
“My deepest sympathy is with his family and with the loved ones of everyone who lost their lives.
“My thoughts too are with the members of the public and our officers who were injured as well as those people affected by these appalling events.
“As many Parliamentarians have noted, our officers ran towards danger to do their jobs. We are indebted to their bravery.
“Officers and staff from the Metropolitan Police are working as hard as we can to protect the public and our capital city.
“I am grateful for all their efforts.”
TIMELINE OF TERROR
- Lone wolf attacker mowed down crowds of pedestrians in 4×4 on Westminster Bridge
- He then crashed into gate outside Parliament before stabbing policeman PC Keith Palmer, 48, to death
- Armed cops put Westminster on lockdown as attack brought London to a standstill yesterday afternoon
- Four people died – including the attacker who was shot by police – and 29 are injured, including seven critical
- Eight people arrested today after six raids at addresses in London, Birmingham and elsewhere
- Cops believe they know the identity of the suspect who was inspired by Islamic terrorism
- The Hyundai used to carry out the attack was hired last Thursday in Birmingham, according to Newsnight
- Hero MP Tobias Ellwood attempted to revive PC Palmer but husband and father could not be saved
- Theresa May condemned attack as ‘sick and depraved’ before holding emergency Cobra meeting
- MPs were locked in House of Commons for five hours
PC Palmer, a member of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Squad and former Bombardier in the Royal Artillery Army Reserve between ’87-’01 , was killed as he tried to stop the attacker at about 2.30pm on Wednesday, while two members of the public were also fatally injured.
Paramedics were seen tending to the attacker as armed cops trained their rifles on his stripped body outside Parliament.
Dramatic pictures showed the bloodied bodies of victims littering Westminster bridge as heroic bystanders desperately worked to save the lives of those “catastrophically” injured.
Among them were MP Tobias Ellwood who gave PC Palmer mouth-to-mouth. Ellwood’s brother was killed in the Bali bombings in 2002.
Speaking in parliament this morning, Tory MP James Cleverly, who had known PC Palmer for 25 years, called on the officer to be honoured with a posthumous award.
Nearly in tears, the MP said that his friend was a “strong, professional public servant”.
Theresa May agreed, saying that full consideration would be given to award the 48-year-old, having previously described him as “every inch a hero”.
The knifeman drove a grey Hyundai i40 across Westminster Bridge before crashing it into railings, then running through the gates of the Palace of Westminster.
His attack left a trail of destruction as paramedics and heroic bystanders tended to victims on the bridge and at the gate.
One woman hit by the attacker’s car before he reached Parliament was confirmed dead by a doctor at St Thomas’ Hospital.
Others on the bridge suffered “catastrophic injuries”.
Another woman who fell into the Thames was rescued and given urgent medical treatment on a nearby pier.
A party of French schoolchildren were among those targeted on the bridge, while four students from Edge Hill University in Ormskirk were also hurt – two described as “walking wounded”, and others said to have minor injuries.
Video of victims hit by car on Westminster Bridge during London terror attackISIS supporters celebrated the horror on social media, dubbing it “revenge” for UK strikes in Mosul.
Those celebrating the attack, which had similarities with atrocities in Nice and Berlin, yesterday called it “blood for blood”.
The attack came on the first anniversary of the Brussels airport bombings.
The Muslim Council of Britain said: “We are shocked and saddened by the incident at Westminster. We condemn this attack and while it is still too early to speculate on the motives, our thoughts and prayers are for the victims and those affected.”
London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “London is the greatest city in the world and we stand together in the face of those who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life.
“Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism.”
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “I want to thank the emergency services for the quick response and pay tribute to their bravery, courage and professionalism.
“We have the best police, the best security services in the world and we must let them get on with doing their job.
“The British people will be united in working together to defeat those who would harm our shared values. Values of democracy, tolerance and the rule of law.
“Values symbolised by the Houses of Parliament. Values that will never be destroyed.”