Jurors told not to attach blame during Westminster Bridge attacker’s inquest

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Jurors were warned not to “jump to conclusions” or attach blame as the inquest into the death of Westminster attacker Khalid Masood got under way.

The 52-year-old Muslim convert mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge on March 22 last year, killing four and seriously injuring 29 more.

He then crashed his Hyundai Tucson into railings and attacked Pc Keith Palmer with knives at the Palace of Westminster.

Khalid Masood
Khalid Masood was shot dead outside the Palace of Westminster (Metropolitan Police/PA)

The court heard the close protection officers had shouted a warning to him to stop before they opened fire.

The victims were Pc Palmer, 48, American tourist Kurt Cochran,
54, retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes, 75, mother-of-two Aysha Frade, 44, and Romanian designer Andreea Cristea, 31.

An Old Bailey jury of 11 men and women was sworn in to hear the inquest into Masood’s death, following the conclusion of the inquest into his victims.

Chief Coroner Mark Lucraft QC told the jury: “This inquest concerns a death as a result of actions by close protection officers in New Palace Yard in the Palace of Westminster.”

He said the hearing would focus on the events in New Palace Yard leading up to Masood’s death.

Mr Lucraft said Masood’s family were represented as interested parties but their lawyers were unlikely to attend the hearings.

Palace of Westminster victims
Yhe victims of the Westminster Bridge terror attack (left to right) Pc Keith Palmer, Aysha Frade, Leslie Rhodes, Andreea Cristea and Kurt Cochran (Metropolitan Police/PA)

But he warned: “You are not allowed to express an opinion on other matters.

“Nobody is on trial here – an inquest does not decide matters of criminal liability. There is no question of attributing blame.”

He added: “Please keep an open mind. Do not jump to conclusions.”

Witnesses will include the close protection officers, who will give evidence anonymously, as well as people involved in Masood’s medical care after he was shot.

Before being sworn in, the coroner pointed out the Press sitting in the dock of Court One of the Old Bailey.

There were wry smiles from journalists as he told jurors: “Don’t worry about the ladies and gentlemen in the dock. They are not defendants. They are the Press. They are just sitting there for convenience.”

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