Westminster terror attack: Pensioner who tried to frame landlord’s partner is jailed

·1-min read
<p>Graham Banyard was handed a three-year prison sentence on Thursday</p> (Met police)

Graham Banyard was handed a three-year prison sentence on Thursday

(Met police)

A pensioner who tried to frame his landlord’s partner over the Westminster Bridge terror attack has been jailed.

Gerald Banyard, 67, from Lancashire, sent two handwritten notes to police in the days after the attack, which suggested his landlord’s partner was working with terrorist Khalid Masood.

The package was passed to the Met’s counter terrorism detectives, who at the time were carrying out enquiries to establish whether Masood acted alone.

But officers investigating the claims, which turned out to be fake, realised Banyard had sent the notes “out of spite” after a housing dispute.

The 67-year-old was found guilty on Tuesday at Southwark Crown Court of two counts of perverting the course of justice following a week-long trial.

At the same court on Thursday he was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for these offences along with a restraining order.

Banyard sent two notes to the police.Metropolitan Police
Banyard sent two notes to the police.Metropolitan Police

He was jailed for an additional two months for failing to appear at court for the May 11 verdict hearing.

A warrant for his arrest was issued at that hearing, and he was subsequently located in Scotland and arrested on May 14.

In May 2017, Masood ploughed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing four people and injuring 50 more, before stabbing PC Keith Palmer to death.

Commander Richard Smith head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command said: “Banyard looked to exploit an extremely tragic and serious situation to try and settle what was a private dispute with his landlord.

“His actions meant that counter terrorism resources were diverted to investigate what turned out to be a completely fabricated story which implicated an innocent man.

“His actions were disgraceful and reckless and I hope this conviction demonstrates how seriously the police and courts take this type of offending.”

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