Khalid Masood told his children he was 'going to die fighting for God' weeks before Westminster attack

Izzy Lyons
Khalid Masood - the Westminster terrorist - Stefan Rousseau/PA

The Westminster terrorist told his young children that he “was going to die fighting for God” during a video chat days before the attack, an inquest has heard. 

Khalid Masood, who killed four pedestrians and one police officer in the assault on the Houses of Parliament on 22 March 2017, also told his mother, Janet Ajao, six days before the attack: “They will say I am a terrorist. I am not.”

Police were not made aware of either comment prior to the attack. 

The remarks came to light at the Old Bailey yesterday afternoon during the inquest into the deaths of the victims of the attack. A detailed timeline of Masood's movements in the days and hours before he drove an SUV over Westminster Bridge, killing Kurt Cochran, 54, Leslie Rhodes, 75, Aysha Frade, 44, Andreea Cristea, 31, before storming Carriage Gates at the front of Parliament and fatally stabbing Pc Keith Palmer, 48 was also presented. 

DCI Dan Brown told the inquest that on 10 March 2017, a day after buying two large kitchen knives at a Birmingham Tesco which he used to kill Pc Palmer, Masood researched his local Calor Gas centre online.

Police believe there is a “high chance” he attempted to get hold of gas canisters for the attack. However, he never visited the store in person. 

The court was also told of Masood’s substantial violent history, including a lengthy criminal record dating back to 1983 when he was just 19-years-old. 

One particularly brutal crime from May 2003, which Masood was later imprisoned for, saw him stab a man in the face “with such force” that the end of the blade broke off. 

The lawyer representing the victims’ families told the inquest that on the morning of the attack Masood searched ‘when is PMQs’ online. His attack was carried out on a Wednesday, the day Prime Minister's Questions takes place. 

He also revealed that Masood frequently told his family that Theresa May was “a liar” and “sick.” 

Masood’s previous relationships were also explained to the court, including the account of one ex-girlfriend who told the police that “obsessive, intelligent and narcissistic” Masood “would have loved the attention and fear he has caused” and that his religion was “a front and an excuse to hurt people.”

CCTV footage of Masood’s movements in the minutes leading up to the attack, including reconnaissance trips over Westminster Bridge, were shown to the chief coroner. 

Before driving his hired Hyundai towards the House of Parliament, Masood parked in St Thomas’ Hospital car park where he sent a “Jihadi message” to contacts via WhatsApp justifying his attack, the court heard. 

Khalid Masood: A life of violence 

Details of Westminster attacker Khalid Masood's life, including a litany of violent outbursts, were presented to the inquests into his victims' deaths.

Born in Erith, Kent, on December 25 1964 with the name Adrian Russell Elms, he grew up with his mother Janet Ajao, his stepfather and two stepbrothers.

Masood went to secondary school in Lewisham, south-east London, and at the age of 13 the family moved to affluent Tunbridge Wells in Kent. He could not get into the local grammar school, so he attended Huntley's Secondary School for Boys comprehensive school.

His first contact with police was at the age of 14, when he was arrested for shoplifting and received a caution. His mother believed he was showing "normal boisterous behaviour" but his stepbrothers said he was violent.

At the age of 16, Masood went to Tonbridge College to do a business studies course. At this time his mother said she was worried about him going out, getting drunk and looking for fights, describing him as "an angry person" and fearing he might kill someone.

He went on to a trainee manager scheme at Woolworths, working first in a store in Tunbridge Wells, then Hastings, before being posted for his third year in Margate or Ramsgate. He walked out of the job after an argument with a manager.

In October 1983, at the age of 18, he was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and fined £15 and ordered to pay £105 compensation.

Five years later, in October 1988, he was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and threatening behaviour using words to cause fear of violence.

On April 21 1989, he was arrested for assault occasioning actual bodily harm for hitting someone in the face after "an incident involving a bus", but the case was withdrawn and did not go to trial.

The following year he was arrested in a restaurant in Tunbridge Wells after he pulled a telephone off its mounting on the wall, and hit police officers when he was arrested and damaged a window.

He then met Jane Harvey, with whom he had two children - one in 1992 and the second in 1998. She described him as "an intelligent, powerful, persuasive and charming person", but said that when he came home after going out drinking she would call his mother for help.

He then studied for an economics degree in Brighton, gaining a 2:1. Fellow students described him as a ladies' man and said that he "looked like he could handle himself".

Despite his degree, he struggled to get a job in the financial services industry, so he worked for the same cleaning supplies company as his girlfriend.

In 2009, a criminal records check was carried out on Masood when he applied for another job. It said he had "a violent temper" and there had been a number of incidents from 1998 to 2003 that had got progressively more serious.

These included one in August 1998 when he accused a woman of not liking him because he was black. When she replied that it was his attitude she didn't like, he spat at her and punched her in the face.

In July 2000, he was jailed for two years for wounding after spitting at another customer in a pub. As he was thrown out, he attacked one of the men ejecting him, with a knife.

While in jail for the attack between July 2000 and July 2001 in HMP Lewes, Wayland and Ford, he began reading the Koran, but showed no sign of extremist beliefs. His relationship with Ms Harvey ended at this time amid "ongoing domestic abuse".

Masood then moved to Eastbourne, where he was charged with actual bodily harm on a girlfriend who cannot be named for legal reasons, and intimidating a witness, for which he received a fine and community penalty.

The violence became more frequent. In September 2002, at a pub he hit a man over the head with a glass and cut another man's face with a knife. He was arrested but the case was discontinued because the witnesses would not help investigators. It was suspected that he had intimidated them.

In the same year it was alleged that he hit someone with a cosh during a robbery.

The following spring, in March 2003, he beat a man with a baton so badly the victim was left with a dislocated shoulder, broken collarbone and extensive bruising.

In May the same year, he erupted violently after a man called Daniel Smith accused him of being an undercover police officer. He stabbed Mr Smith in the face with such force that the knife passed from his nose, through his mouth and into his jaw, with the point breaking off.

Masood was charged with attempted murder, wounding with intent, possession of an offensive weapon and possession of a bladed article, but was acquitted on all but the offensive weapons charge on the grounds of self-defence.

He was on remand from May 2003 to December 2003, and then released on time served. During this time he again became interested in Islam.

In 2004 he moved to Crawley to do a course to train to teach English as a foreign language, and met Farzana Malik, who he married within a matter of weeks. In her words the union was "a disaster" and the pair parted ways after a few months.

In November 2005, he began a year's contract teaching English in Saudi Arabia.