Westminster terror suspect named as Salih Khater, a British citizen of Sudanese origin

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

The man arrested after a car crashed outside the Houses of Parliament in a suspected terror attack has been named as Salih Khater.

It is believed the 29-year-old, a British citizen of Sudanese origin, remains in police custody after his arrest on suspicion of preparing an act of terror.

He was subsequently further arrested for attempted murder.

Salih Khater has been named as the suspect in the Westminster terror attack (PA)

Khater is thought to have lived in a first-floor flat in Sparkbrook, Birmingham, until he moved out around four months ago.

Residents who knew the suspect described him as a quiet man.

Local resident Ahmed Abdi, who is originally from Somalia, told reporters: “I recognised his picture from the news and I was shocked.

“He was around here almost every day and I was here yesterday when the police turned up. He was very quiet and he used to drive a small white car, a really old one.

“He was very, very quiet and he never spoke to anybody. He would say nothing to nobody.”

Khater was previously an accountancy student at Coventry University.

A spokesman for the university said: “Salih Khater studied accountancy at Coventry University between September 2017 and May 2018.

“As of May 2018 he is no longer enrolled at the university.”

The car used in the attack has now been recovered by police (PA)

The silver Ford Fiesta used in the attack was driven from Birmingham to London late on Monday and spent almost five hours in the Tottenham Court Road area.

It was then driven around the Westminster area for more than 90 minutes before it crashed into a security barrier outside the Houses of Parliament just before 7.40am on Tuesday.

Counter-terrorism officers have since conducted searches at two addresses in Birmingham and a residential property in Nottingham as part of the probe.

Plainclothed police officers could be seen outside an address in Peveril Street, Nottingham, on Tuesday evening, said by neighbours to be home to six Sudanese people.


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There was also a police presence near the Bunna Internet Cafe on Stratford Road in Sparkbrook, Birmingham.

Khater, who was said to not be co-operating with officers, was not known to security services, Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism head Neil Basu said.

He said the apparent deliberate nature of the act, the method used and the ‘iconic’ location of Parliament led the force to treat it as a terrorist incident.

A residential property (left) on Peveril Street in Nottingham which was searched by police (PA)
The route of the car that crashed into security barriers (PA)

Footage showed the car’s approach towards Parliament, where it crossed into oncoming traffic and collided with cyclists before entering a small sideroad and crashing into a security barrier.

Three people sustained non-life-threatening injuries. One man was treated at the scene while another man and a woman were taken to hospital but were discharged by Tuesday evening.

Images posted online showed a man wearing a black puffer jacket being led away in handcuffs from the car as armed police swarmed the scene.

There was nobody else in the vehicle and no weapons were found, police said.

A bicycle is loaded onto a van after a car ploughed into cyclists and pedestrians (PA)
Police and forensic teams surround the car used in the attack (PA)

Mr Basu added no other suspects have been identified and there is “no intelligence at this time of further danger” to Londoners.

The car was removed from the scene late on Tuesday night.

After a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee, Theresa May urged the country to come together and carry on as normal.

In a statement the Prime Minister, who is on holiday, praised the ‘formidable courage’ and professionalism of the emergency services who ‘ran towards’ danger.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who also thanked the emergency services, urged people to ‘keep an open mind’ about the incident.

A forklift truck removes the security barrier that the car crashed into (PA)

Witnesses described an emotionless driver ploughing through cyclists in what appeared to be a deliberate act.

Kirsty Moseley, of Brixton, was a passenger in the first car behind the cyclists, who ‘were thrown everywhere’ after being struck at what she estimated was 25mph.

Ms Moseley, 31, added: ‘He (the driver) wasn’t shouting anything, he wasn’t screaming, he didn’t look crazed or out of control – he was just deadpan.’

What we know so far about the suspected terror attack at Westminster:

  • A car collided with cyclists and pedestrians before crashing into a security barrier outside the Houses of Parliament shortly before 7.40am.
  • The man driving the silver Ford Fiesta, 29-year-old UK national Salih Khater, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of preparation of a terrorist act. He is believed to have been living in the Birmingham Hall Green constituency, MP Roger Godsiff said.
  • Three people were treated for injuries after the incident. One man was treated at the scene while a man and woman were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Both have since been discharged.
  • The man was alone in the car and no weapons were recovered from the vehicle. Police said in the hours after the incident that the suspect was not co-operating.
  • The Metropolitan Police said they were treating it as a terrorist incident because of the method used, the fact it appeared to have been deliberate and due to the “iconic location” where it happened.
  • The car, which is privately owned and was first registered in March 2010 according to gov.uk, was driven from Birmingham to London on Monday night and arrived into London just after midnight on Tuesday. It was then in the area of Tottenham Court Road between 1.25am and 5.55am, before being driven around the areas of Westminster and Whitehall from 6am until the time of the incident.
  • Searches were being carried out at two addresses in Birmingham and one in Nottingham on Tuesday evening. Plain-clothed police officers could be seen outside an address in Peveril Street in Nottingham, which was said by neighbours to be home to six Sudanese people. There was also a police presence near the Bunna Internet Cafe on Stratford Road in Sparkbrook, Birmingham, but it was not confirmed whether that was in relation to the Westminster probe.

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