He was dubbed ‘The Vampire’ by locals because he would go out at night dressed in black
By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
LONDON, UK (ANS – March 23, 2017) — Police have identified Khalid Masood as the man who carried out the Westminster attack on Wednesday (March 22, 2017), as the death toll has risen to five.
PC Keith Palmer, 48, Aysha Frade and US tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, were killed on Wednesday, while a 75-year-old man died on Thursday evening.
The man had been receiving medical treatment in hospital but his life support was withdrawn.
The so-called Islamic State (ISIS) terror group has said it was behind the attack.
Kent-born Masood, said to be a Muslim convert, was shot dead by police, and had not been the subject of any current police investigations, but had a range of previous convictions.
The 52-year-old was reported to have been living in the city of Birmingham, where I was raised and met and married my wife, Norma.
This was discovered when police raided a flat in Quayside, Winson Green, Birmingham, where it is understood he had lived.
Media reports said that Masood was a married father-of-three, and had claimed to have worked as an English teacher, and to also have been a bodybuilder.
Masood had a range of convictions spanning 20 years, but had never previously been charged with any terrorism offences. He was also not the subject of any current investigations and there was no prior intelligence on his intent to mount a terror attack.
However, he was known to police and has a range of previous convictions for assaults, including Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH), possession of offensive weapons and public order offences.
A police statement said: “His first conviction was in November 1983 for criminal damage and his last conviction was in December 2003 for possession of a knife.”
Scotland Yard said Khalid Masood “is not at this early stage believed to be his birth name” and that research into his aliases was being carried out.
BBC security correspondent, Frank Gardner, described Masood as a “strange character,” whom he believes likely didn’t act alone.
Speaking to BBC News, Mr. Gardner said locals called the suspect “The Vampire” because he usually went out at night and wore black clothing.
Still, investigators are working on the basis that Masood acted alone in his attack.
PC Keith Palmer, 48, Aysha Frade and US tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, were killed on Wednesday, while a 75-year-old man died on Thursday evening. The man had been receiving medical treatment in hospital but his life support was withdrawn.
The BBC says that three women and five men were arrested in London and Birmingham on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts following Wednesday’s attack.
London’s Metropolitan Police says detectives are continuing to search a number of addresses, including one in Carmarthenshire, three in Birmingham and one in east London. Addresses in Brighton and south-east London have also been searched.
“We will defeat them”
Home Secretary Amber Rudd told those gathered for a candlelight vigil in London’s Trafalgar Square on Thursday evening that terrorists “will not win.”
“We are all connected and today we showed that by coming together, by going to work, by getting about our normal business, because the terrorists will not defeat us. We will defeat them,” she said.
The Metropolitan Police said there had been no prior intelligence about Masood’s intention to carry out an attack.
Car hire company Enterprise said the vehicle used in the attack had been rented from its Spring Hill depot in Birmingham. The BBC understands Masood hired the Hyundai SUV in person, giving his profession as a teacher.
However, the UK Department for Education said it had no record of him having worked as a qualified teacher in English state schools. It appears that he styled himself as an English tutor at one point.
The murdered police officer
PC Palmer, who was stabbed in the grounds of Parliament, was a father, and also an unarmed member of the parliamentary and diplomatic protection squad, with 15 years’ service.
His family said in a statement that he would be remembered as a “wonderful dad and husband.”
A JustGiving page set up for the family of PC Palmer reached its initial target of £100,000 on Thursday afternoon, less than 24 hours after it had been set up.
The amount pledged has now passed £320,000, after the target was raised several times.
The Metropolitan Police said that as a mark of respect, the constable’s shoulder number, 4157U, would be retired and not reissued to any other officer.
The Queen said from Buckingham Palace that her “thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathy” were with those affected by the “awful violence,” while MPs held a minute’s silence before Parliament continued business as normal.
Prime Minister Theresa May, who on Wednesday was quickly bundled out of the House of Commons chamber by the Special Air Service (SAS) spent, has spent 40 minutes today visiting the injured in local hospitals.
Police have said five people remain in a critical condition in hospital and two have life-threatening injuries. A total of about 40 people had been treated in nearby hospitals.
A Romanian couple injured in the attack have been identified as Andrei Burnaz and Andreea Cristea. The Romanian embassy in London has confirmed that Ms. Cristea is the person who fell from Westminster Bridge during the attack.
Mark Rowley, the Metropolitan Police’s acting deputy commissioner, said today: “It is still our belief — which continues to be borne out by our investigation — that [Masood] acted alone and was inspired by international terrorism. To be explicit, at this stage we have no specific information about further threats to the public.”
Photo captions: 1) Khalid Masood was shot at the scene of the Westminster attack (From BBC website). 2) Police surround Masood after he had been shot. 3) (From left) PC Keith Palmer, Kurt Cochran and Aysha Frade, who all died in the attack. 4) Londoners gathered at Trafalgar Square for a candlelight vigil for the victims of Wednesday’s attack. (Credit: Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times). 5) Dan Wooding recording a radio show.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 76, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for nearly 54 years. Dan is the founder and president of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and he hosts a weekly radio show and two TV programs, all based in Southern California. They have two sons, Andrew and Pater, and six grandchildren, who all live in the UK. Dan is the author of 45 books and, before moving to the US in 1982, lived and worked in London for many years.
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