Westminster terror attack: Driver suspected of smashing into Parliament barrier 'from the Midlands'

  • Driver smashed into Parliament barrier next to Westminster Bridge at 7.37am
  • Several cyclists injured after motorist drove ‘at speed’ at black barrier
  • Met Police launch counter terror investigation as male driver is arrested
  • Man arrested is in his 20s and is being held on suspicion of terrorist offences
  • Suspect is ‘not currently cooperating’, Met Police say
  • Eyewitness: ‘It looked intentional. I heard some noise and everyone screamed’
  • Vehicle ‘did not have front registration plate’ when it crashed

The man suspected of driving the car that injured several cyclists and pedestrians outside the Houses of Parliament has reportedly been identified by police.

The suspect, in his late twenties, is being held in custody at a south London police station but counter-terrorism head Neil Basu said he is not co-operating with officers.

He was arrested on suspicion of terror offences after the silver Ford Fiesta he was driving collided with cyclists and pedestrians before crashing into security barriers just before 7.40am on Tuesday morning.

Officers and forensic teams stand by the car that crashed into security barriers (PA)
Police say they have identified the suspect in the attack (PA)

The suspect is understood to be from the Birmingham area.

His name has not yet been released but police said he was not known to MI5 or counter-terror police.

Westminster was sent into lockdown this morning after a motorist ploughed into a barrier outside the Houses of Parliament.

Several pedestrians were injured and the male driver immediately arrested after the Fiesta smashed into a black security barrier near Westminster Bridge during the morning rush hour.

The car, circled in red, sent Parliament into lockdown after crashing into barriers early on Tuesday morning. (BBC/PA)

Eyewitness footage showed armed police pounce on the driver within minutes.

The Met Police’s Counter-Terrorism Command is leading the investigation and a meeting of the Government’s emergency cobra committee has taken place.

Donald Trump commented on the attack, tweeting that the response must be ‘toughness and strength’.

The silver vehicle crashed into the barrier outside Parliament at 7.37am on Tuesday. (PA/Twitter/Ewelina U Ochab)
Armed police on Victoria Embankment in Westminster, central London, after a car crashed into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament (PA)

No other suspects have been identified and there is “no intelligence at this time of further danger” to Londoners following the Westminster car attack, Mr Basu said.

Images posted to social media immediately after the attack showed a suspect surrounded by officers being led away from the vehicle in handcuffs.

Eyewitness Ewalina Ochab said: “I think it looked intentional – the car drove at speed and towards the barriers.”

She said: “I was walking on the other side [of the road]. I heard some noise and someone screamed. I turned around and I saw a silver car driving very fast close to the railings, maybe even on the pavement.”

Police activity on Millbank, in central London, after a car crashed into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament (PA)
An aerial impression of Westminster (PA)

“The person driving did not go out” of the vehicle, she said.

The vehicle did not appear to have a front registration plate when it crashed, she added.

An eyewitness, who gave his name only as James, described how he had been cycling past Parliament shortly after the incident happened.

“There was a cyclist clearly injured on the floor, there was a number of cyclists off their bikes. As I went past, an ambulance turned up,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.


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“As I carried on down I was told to get off my bike by a police officer. He said there’d been an incident. As I looked up as I got off my bike, I saw there was a car in the barrier.

“My natural reaction was to get away from the scene.”

Streets around Parliament Square, Millbank and Victoria Tower Gardens have been cordoned off while police, ambulances and firefighters arrived at the scene.

The Met Police’s counter-terror branch are leading the investigation (PA)
Police activity on Millbank, in central London, after a car crashed into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament (PA)

Scotland Yard said: “At 07:37hrs on Tuesday 14 August, a silver Ford Fiesta collided with a number of cyclists and pedestrians, before crashing into barriers outside the Houses of Parliament.

“The driver of the car, a man in his late 20s, was arrested at the scene by armed officers. He has been taken to a south London police station where he remains in police custody.

“He was arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences.

“There was nobody else in the vehicle, which remains at the scene and is being searched. No weapons have been recovered at this stage.”

The force spokesman added: “At this stage, we are treating this as a terrorist incident and the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command is now leading the investigation.”

Police confirmed that one man has been arrested (PA)

Two people were treated at the scene in Westminster for injuries that are not thought to be serious, London Ambulance Service said.

The patient being treated at St Thomas’ Hospital was discharged before midday, a Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said.

Assistant Director of Operations Peter Rhodes said: “We were called at 7.40am today (14 August) to reports of an incident on St Margaret Street, SW1.

“We sent a number of resources to the scene including three ambulance crews, responders in cars and an incident response officer.

“We have treated two people at the scene for injuries that are not believed to be serious and have taken them to hospital.”

The length of Whitehall remains completely shut off to traffic, with the cordon extended up to where the road meets Trafalgar Square.

A forensics investigator works at the scene after a car crashed outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London (Reuters)

In a statement on the attack, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said “all Londoners, like me, utterly condemn all acts of terrorism on our city”.

“The response of Londoners today shows that we will never be cowed, intimidated or divided by any terrorist attack,” he said.

He added: “I have been and will continue to be in close touch with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Transport for London and the other emergency services. My heartfelt thanks goes to the brave first responders who were so quickly on the scene following the attack.”

Mr Khan urged members of the public to “remain calm and vigilant”, and report any information about the incident to the Metropolitan Police.

Prime Minister Theresa May is currently away in Switzerland on the second leg of her summer holiday.

While Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: “My thoughts are with those hurt and injured outside Parliament this morning in what is being treated as a terrorist incident.

“Our thanks go to our emergency services who responded immediately. Their bravery keeps us safe day in, day out.”

British Transport Police (BTP) said it would be putting extra officers on patrols in England, Scotland and Wales on Tuesday afternoon and into the evening following the Westminster terror attack.

Superintendent Chris Horton from BTP said: “We know incidents such as this are likely to cause concern, so our officers will be highly visible both on board trains and at stations.

“We are there to reassure the travelling public, so please don’t be alarmed if you see our officers, including firearms officers, on your journey.”

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