Leslie Rhodes: Neighbours played 75-year-old his favourite Queen songs by his bedside as he lay dying

Danny Boyle
Pensioner Leslie Rhodes was crossing Westminster Bridge when he was struck by  terrorist Khalid Masood's car - REUTERS

A retired window cleaner who neighbours described as a "lovely man" has been identified as the fourth person to be killed in the Westminster terror attack.

Neighbours told on Friday how they played the single 75-year-old his favourite Queen songs as he doctors turned off his life support machine. 

He was the fourth person to be killed by the British Muslim convert, who wrought havoc in the heart of London on Wednesday.

Friends said that cricket-loving Leslie Rhodes, from Clapham, south London, "would do anything for anybody".

The 75-year-old is thought to have been visiting a nearby hospital when he was mown down by terrorist Khalid Masood's car.

The window cleaner smashed his head on the pavement as he was flung into the air by the Masood's hired Hyundai.

'The doctors got us to take his favourite music'

Mr Rhodes, a keen music fan, died at King's College Hospital on Thursday night after life support was withdrawn.

Today his next door neighbours and friends of 30 years, Michael and Chris Carney, told how they cried and played his favourite song as Les slipped away.

When he finally passed away, their daughter Emma tickled his feet to make sure he had actually gone. 

Chris said Les was one of the family and would often help her carry her shopping indoors.

The grandmother of 13 said: "The police advised us not to go down to the hospital, but when I rang the doctors wanted us to come down, they were waiting for us so someone was there with him.

"We went with our two daughters Emma and Rachel.

"We were trying to talk to him but we kept crying all the time while we were by his bed.

"The doctors got us to take his favourite music, which was Queen. We played These Are the Days of Our Lives which was his favourite song.

"When the doctors told us he had died my daughter, Emma, tried to tickle his feet to make sure he'd gone because that's what I used to say to them when they were little.

"I was glad we did go to see him so he had someone there.

"Hopefully he knew we were there and could hear us - they say hearing is the last thing to go.

"He will leave a big hole in the community, we all know each other round here. He knew everybody."

The 70-year-old added: "He was a very good friend, he was always there for us.

"He was a very good mate and good neighbour and was a lovely man, he would never hurt anyone, he will be sorely missed.

"If I was downstairs struggling with my shopping he would come down and help me. He was always helpful and always did the little things that mean a lot.

"He became like family."

'He'd been fit as a fiddle despite his age'

Neighbours paid tribute to Mr Rhodes as "a lovely man" and said he had been "as fit as a fiddle" despite his age.

Philip Williams, 61, said: "We'd known him for 24 years. He was a lovely man. He would do anything for anybody. And it's such a shock."

Mr Rhodes - a retired self-employed window cleaner - was not married and had no children, Mr Williams said.

He added: "You know, it's a crime that he's been taken."

Key articles | London attack

Victim was crossing bridge when car struck

Mr Williams said he had been told by neighbours who went to see him before he died that Mr Rhodes was attending the hospital and may have been coming from or going to a bus stop nearby when he was hit.

He said: "I've been told he was at the hospital, St Thomas', and he went by public transport and he was apparently crossing the bridge when this car hit him.

"As I say, I've been told he was hit in the midriff. He had many broken bones. Apparently he went into a coma straight away."

He lived in same flats where he grew up

Mr Rhodes grew up in Battersea, before moving to Clapham Common on the 1970s with his mother and father to the flat he lived in until he died.

Leslie worked for a window cleaning company in Croydon, south London, until it folded in the 1980s and he set up his own business with a friend.

Mr Carney said he first met Les in The Sun pub in Clapham during the 1960s.

He added: "If he cleaned your windows he would do it for nothing or very cheaply, that's just the kind of person he was.

"When you know someone like that you can't just let them die on their own, we had to be there for him.

"If he died of cancer or something like that you could accept it, but like this you just can't take it.

"He was so fit, he would have lived until he was 90, but they took his life away, that's why we're so angry. It's just awful."

Mr Carney added: "He liked betting on horses, dogs, and loved cricket, always watched the test matches and used to go to Surrey.

"He was his own man, he didn't rely on anyone. He didn't want anything off anyone.

"In the pub he would always buy his own drink, that's the person he was - very independent."

Neighbours said the only family they knew of was a brother who died of cancer around ten years ago.

Mr Rhodes had a friend called Nobby who he set up a window cleaning business with but it is thought he now has Alzheimer's disease. It is thought Mr Rhodes did not have any children and never married.

Mr Williams said: "I came to take the dog out this morning and the first thing I saw was his car and I burst into tears.

"He would do anything for you. He would help clean your windows or take your rubbish out. 

"The thing I always remember was how kind he was. He was a very, very kind man. To lose a man like that is devastating.

'He was incredibly fit and used to cycle a lot. We'd pass the time of day and chat about cricket, which he loved."

Philip Williams, a neighbour of Leslie Rhodes Credit: Nick Ansell/PA

Mr Williams said Mr Rhodes had grown up in the block of flats he was living in when he was killed.

Attacker is 'scum and pure evil', says sister-in-law

The sister-in-law of Mr Rhodes said Masood is "scum and pure evil", as she recounted how she could not get the picture of the 75-year-old lying in King's College hospital "out of my head".

"He was lying there, everything was broken. Lung punctured, broken ribs, it was just terrible," she said outside of the Seaford home she used to share with her husband Roy Rhodes, who died two years ago.

Mrs Rhodes added that she had got the news on Wednesday evening, at around 6pm, as she sat watching events unfold on television.

She said Leslie, who she had known since he was a schoolboy when her and Roy first started dating, had been struck down on what would have been her 60th wedding anniversary.

'Can't get hospital image of Leslie out of my head'

"He was a lovely man Lez. He was just out for the day. He's retired now, lives in Clapham, so it was just pure coincidence that he was there," she added.

"These people are pure scum, evil. I just can't get the picture of Leslie out of my head."

Emergency services on Westminster Bridge after the attack Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

She added that police were still holding his body as part of ongoing investigations, and that the family were being kept in "limbo", without knowing how long it will be until they are able to organise the funeral.

How the Westminster attack unfolded

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