All 12 people arrested over Westminster attack released without charge

Chris Johnston
A man looks at floral tributes to the victims of the Westminster terrorist attack. Photograph: Nick Ansell/PA

Police have released without charge all of the 12 people arrested in connection with the Westminster terrorist attack last week, strengthening investigators’ belief that Briton Khalid Masood acted alone when he killed four and injured more than 50.

A 30-year-old man arrested on 26 March in Birmingham on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts and detained under the Terrorism Act was released on Saturday and faced no further action, police said.

Eleven other people previously arrested in connection with the investigation into the 22 March attack had previously been released with no further action. Masood’s partner, Rohey Hydara, was one of those individuals.

The four victims of the attack have been formally identified as Kurt Cochran, 54, an American tourist; Aysha Frade, 44, a teacher; PC Keith Palmer, 48; and Leslie Rhodes, 75, a retired window cleaner.

The inquests into their deaths opened and adjourned on Wednesday under the authority of the senior coroner for Westminster, Fiona Wilcox. A provisional date for the pre-inquest review was set for 19 May at the Royal Courts of Justice.

An inquest into the death of Masood, 52, heard on Thursday that he died of a gunshot wound to the chest. It was also adjourned until 19 May.

More than 50 people were injured in the attack, with wounds ranging from cuts and bruises to extensive bone and skull fractures. Andreea Cristea, a Romanian tourist who fell into the Thames during the attack, remains in critical but stable condition.

The entire incident on 22 March lasted just 82 seconds.

Police said it began at 14:40:08 when Masood’s hire car mounted the pavement on Westminster Bridge, weaving along the footpath and road until 14:40:38, when he crashed into the perimeter fence of the Palace of Westminster.

He left the car at 14:40:51 and was shot by a police firearms officer, part of the close protection team of the defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon, in the palace courtyard at 14:41:30.

At 14:40:59, the first 999 call was made to the Met reporting the incident.

Deputy assistant Metropolitan police commissioner Neil Basu said last week the investigation was continuing and appealed for anyone who had spoken to Masood in recent months, especially in the days leading up to the attack, to contact the police.

Police are still trying to establish whether he had been “inspired by terrorist propaganda or if others have encouraged, supported or directed him”.

Basu said: “We still believe that Masood acted alone on the day and there is no information or intelligence to suggest there are further attacks planned.

“Even if he acted alone in the preparation, we need to establish with absolute clarity why he did these unspeakable acts, to bring reassurance to Londoners and to provide answers and closure for the families of those killed and the victims and survivors of this atrocity. We must all accept that there is a possibility we will never understand why he did this. That understanding may have died with him.”

In a statement released on Tuesday through the Metropolitan police, Masood’s partner, Rohey Hydara, said: “I am saddened and shocked by what Khalid has done. I totally condemn his actions. I express my condolences to the families of the victims that have died, and wish a speedy recovery to all the injured.”

Her comments followed a statement issued by Masood’s mother, Janet Ajao, who has been under armed police guard in west Wales, where she runs a craft business.

“Since discovering that it was my son who was responsible, I have shed many tears for the people caught up in this horrendous incident,” she said. “I wish to make it absolutely clear, so there can be no doubt, I do not condone his actions or support the beliefs he held that led to him committing this atrocity.”

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