The aftermath of the attacks on Westminster by one-time teacher, Khalid Masood
One-time English teacher Khalid Masood was once investigated over alleged links to extremism, Theresa May told MPs.
The 52-year-old father-of-three was on the fringes of an MI5 investigation but was never charged with any terrorist crime.
The Prime Minister said: “He was a peripheral figure. He was not part of the current intelligence picture.”
He was born Adrian Elms and brought up in Kent before converting to Islam in prison. Last night a 75-year-old man died in hospital, bringing the death toll to five including Masood.
The body-builder’s record as a violent thug emerged as police questioned five men and three women allegedly linked to the killer.
Thousands joined a candlelit vigil last night led by Home Secretary Amber Rudd and London mayor Sadiq Khan in Trafalgar Square.
Mr Khan said: “When Londoners face adversity we always pull together. We stand up for our values and we show the world we are the greatest city in the world.”
The Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge yesterday sent messages of “deepest sympathy” to the bereaved and survivors. Speaking at a charity event, the Duchess said: “I know you would all want to join me in sending our thoughts and prayers to all those sadly affected by yesterday’s terrible attack in Westminster. We will be thinking of all the families.”
He was not part of the current intelligence picture
Masood, who has previous convictions for causing grievous bodily harm, possession of offensive weapons and a series of assaults, murdered mother-of-two Aysha Frade, 43, and American tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, as he mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in a Hyundai 4×4.
Mrs Frade was on her way to pick up her two children from school. Mr Cochran and his wife, from Utah, were on a trip to London to celebrate 25 years of marriage.
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One-time English teacher Khalid Masood was once investigated over alleged links to extremism
Mrs Cochran was among the 40 injured. Five were still critically ill in hospital last night, including two police officers who were returning from an event to recognise their past bravery in the line of duty.
After crashing the car into railings near Big Ben, Masood dashed into Parliament’s precincts through the historic Carriage Gates and stabbed unarmed PC Keith Palmer, 48, to death.
Moments later, Masood was shot dead by a police marksman – reportedly a plainclothes close protection officer to Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon.
Questions were raised last night about security and the number of armed officers at the gates, the main entrance for official cars.
Yesterday Islamic State claimed responsibility for the atrocity, describing Masood as one of its “soldiers”.
Mrs May, who visited survivors in hospital yesterday, paid tribute to father-of-one PC Palmer calling him “every inch a hero”.
The eight people arrested were held as armed police raided six addresses in Birmingham and London on Wednesday night and early yesterday.
After crashing the car into railings near Big Ben, Masood dashed into Parliament’s precincts
One of the properties was a squalid flat in a rat-infested street off Hagley Road, Birmingham.
A neighbour said: “The man from London lived here.”
Recently he had been living at a smarter address in the Winson Green area of the city. He is believed to have used several aliases and previously lived at properties in east London and Luton.
Detectives are looking for evidence of a wider conspiracy or anyone who suspected Masood was about to strike but failed to tell authorities.
The killer, who was born in Kent on Christmas Day 1964, chalked up his first criminal conviction in November 1983 for criminal damage.
His last conviction was in December 2003 for possession of a knife. A neighbour in Winson Green said: “I saw him outside his house with a woman and kids.
“He looked like a normal family man, always dressed in traditional Muslim black dress and his partner wore a head dress and full length black clothing.
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“A girl who looked to be his daughter was always wearing a head dress too. He looked like he worked out and took good care of himself. About three or four weeks ago I saw a removal van outside his house so I guess that could’ve been the time he left. Now a white family have moved in.”
Fellow resident Iwona Romek, 45, said Masood kept his garden free of weeds and his car clean. “I would often see him washing his car and cutting his front lawn,” Ms Romek said.
“He was very quiet but would often say hello.When I turned on the telly yesterday I recognised him straight away as the man who used to live here.”
Scotland Yard said a 39-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts in a raid in east London.
Two police officers stood guard yesterday outside the first-floor two-bedroom flat in a modern block owned by Newham Council.
Forensic officers were removing items from the apartment and ripping up floorboards as part of a fingertip search.
Neighbour Zeeshan Rais, 33, said: “We all moved in at the same time in 2014 but I only really knew the lady to say hello to. Sometimes there was a bearded black man there, smoking on her balcony, but we hadn’t seen him for the last three months.
A large police presence has been visible since the attack
“Family used to come from far away, I think, to visit in the school holidays and bring children with them.”
A neighbour at the previous property where Masood lived said: “This guy is a local guy. I believe he belongs to a mosque on Leyton High Road. I’ve seen his face many times. I saw him on the news and thought, ‘This is the guy I know from the mosque.’ He had a beard and big eyes.”
Women aged 21 and 26 were arrested during raids in Birmingham along with five men aged 23, 26, 27, 28 and 58.
Police were also searching an address in Carmarthenshire, south-west Wales. The killer’s Hyundai was hired from a branch of Enterprise in Solihull, about 12 miles from Winson Green.
Mrs May told MPs the terror threat level is being held at severe, the second-highest.
Up to 5,000 soldiers could be mobilised within days to help police but any deployment would need Cabinet approval.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission said yesterday it was investigating the shooting of Masood but a spokeswoman stressed: “We are investigating the circumstances of the incident and no police officers are under investigation.”