It was over in 82 seconds, but left a trail of death and destruction in one of the most picturesque parts of London that has long been the heart of Britain’s democracy – but Scotland Yard says it may never know why UK-born Khalid Masood did it.
The so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility, but forensic police investigation so far has not come across any reason for the attack. Most people arrested have been released, while details of Masood’s life and his time before he drove to London on the day have been traced.
Detailed police analysis reveals that Masood’s attack started last Wednesday at (GMT) 14:40:08 on the Westminster Bridge, when he drove his marauding car on the pavement full of people, killing three people and leaving many injured, some critically.
Masood, 52, continued towards Bridge Street along both the footpath and road until 14:40:38 before crashing into the perimeter fence of the Palace of Westminster. At 14:40:59, the first 999 call was made to Scotland Yard reporting the incident.
Masood, who had some previous convictions but was not on the radar of intelligence agencies, then left the vehicle and was shot by a police firearms officer inside the Palace of Westminster boundary at 14:41:30.
Neil Basu, who is the Yard’s senior national coordinator for counter terrorism policing, said: “Whilst the attack lasted only 82 seconds it will remain in the memories of many forever. The thoughts of all those working on this investigation are with those so deeply affected.”
“We still believe that Masood acted alone on the day…We must all accept that there is a possibility we will never understand why he did this. That understanding may have died with him.”
“Nevertheless, we are determined to understand if Masood was a lone actor inspired by terrorist propaganda or if others have encouraged, supported or directed him. If the latter proves to be the case, they will face justice.”
The family of police officer Keith Palmer stabbed to death by Masood said it was moved by the support from various quarters: “We have been overwhelmed by the love and support for our family, and most especially, the outpouring of love and respect for our Keith.”
“We would also like to express our gratitude to the people who were with Keith in his last moments and who were working that day. There was nothing more you could have done. You did your best and we are just grateful he was not alone.”