Westminster terror attack: coroner hails 'overwhelming acts' of London's doctors and nurses

A coroner today hailed the brave actions of London's doctors and nurses for saving lives in the aftermath of the Westminster terror attack.

Coroner Mark Lucraft QC has begun delivering his verdict in the inquest of the five people who died in the attack by praising the efforts of those who rushed to help the injured and dying.

"I'm sure many more people didn't die from their injuries because of the capabilities and quite overwhelming acts of those who responded", he said.

He said doctors and nurses from nearby St Thomas' Hospital helped those injured by "treating them where they could", adding: "I'm sure what they did is a great comfort to the families who couldn't be with their loved ones at that time."

Mr Lucraft also criticised bystanders who had filmed the aftermath of the attack, including injured and dying victims, and posted the footage online.

"Some of the material is very distressing to the families, and I would encourage that it is removed", he said.

The man behind the attack, Khalid Masood, 52, killed four pedestrians - Aysha Frade, 43, Kurt Cochran, 54, Leslie Rhodes, 75, and Andreea Cristea, 31 – by hitting them with a hired 4x4 Hyundai on Westminster Bridge on March 22 last year.

Tribute: US tourist Melissa Cochran, whose husband Kurt was killed in the Westminster attack, arrives for a memorial service at Westminster Abbey (AP)

Mother of two Mrs Frade was thrown under the wheels of a passing bus, Mr Leslie and American tourist Mr Cochran suffered fatal injuries when hit by Masood’s car, and Ms Cristea, a Romanian tourist, was flung into the River Thames.

Masood, an extremist with ties to Anjem Choudary’s banned Al Muhijaroun (ALM) group, then crashed his car into the perimeter fence around Parliament, clambering out armed with two knives.

As pedestrians screamed in horror and fled, Masood ran through the Carriage Gates entrance to Parliament and stabbed PC Keith Palmer to death.

Masood stabbed the unarmed officer repeatedly and was shot dead dead as he ventured further into the Westminster estate.

A police officer places flowers and a photo of Pc Keith Palmer on Whitehall after the Westminster attack (Dominic Lipinski /PA)

The coroner said it was clear Masood was carrying out a "deliberate act", targeting people at random as they enjoyed the iconic sights of London.

The family of PC Palmer has called on the coroner to find that Met Police systems failed to adequately protect Parliament and the officers on duty.

Dominic Adamson QC, for PC Palmer’s widow, told the Old Bailey inquest: "The bulk of the evidence demonstrates strongly and clearly that for the majority of the time, there was not effective support at the perimeter of the Palace of Westminster.

"The evidence has shown that in the 108 minutes that preceded the attack, authorised firearms officers were within the vicinity of the gates for a maximum of 14 minutes – that is a total of 13 per cent of that time."

The court heard that armed officers were on mobile patrols around a section of the grounds which include Carriage Gates, but were not permanently stationed at the entrance.

However Scotland Yard chiefs say instructions were changed in January 2015 to ensure armed guards were close to the gates, but that junior officers failed to follow them.

Susannah Stevens, representing PC Palmer’s sisters and parents, suggested there was a “lack of acceptance and responsibility on behalf of the senior leadership team of the Metropolitan Police Service”.

But Hugo Keith QC, who is representing the Met Police, argued this morning that any police failings identified by the coroner could not be blamed for PC Palmer's death.

He said Masood struck with "unanticipated speed", while officers stationed at and near to Carriage Gates were distracted by the noise of the extremist's car crashing into the perimeter fence.

"The stark reality is Masood entered through Carriage Gates so quickly that no single officer had time to react, let alone prevent the fatal attack", he said.

PC Nick Carlisle was a colleague of PC Palmer’s and rushed to his aid during the attack by Masood, attempting to rugby tackle the extremist to stop him.

Asked about Masood’s motives yesterday, he said: “He looked me directly in the eye. He was coming through a crowd of people. He was not interested in members of the public. He was coming to kill police officers.”

The inquest has heard how Masood was on the radar of the security services as long ago as 2004, when his telephone number was on a contact list of a jihadi involved in the so-called fertiliser bomb plot in Crawley.

He went to live in Luton and Birmingham, close to known Muslim extremists, and he was suspected in 2010 of helping Al Qaeda operatives travel to Pakistan for terror training.

However, Masood was put on a “closed” list of terror suspects in 2012 and was not under active surveillance at the time of the attack.

“We do think there is room for improvement in terms of decision making”, said Gareth Patterson QC, for the families of the victims on the bridge.

“The Frade family was quite frankly bewildered by the failure to revisit Masood, particularly in the latter years when he was again and again meeting with ALM individuals”.

The coroner will today rule on the deaths of all five victims, deciding how they died and any steps that could have been taken to save them.

He is expected to deliver a report with any recommendations at a later date.

Read more news of London on our site.

Westminster terror attack London's doctors and nurses
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in january
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

At least eight suspected migrants have landed on a beach near Dover this morning with some managing to flee before emergency services could arrive.  The migrants are believed to have braced the cold weather overnight to cross the channel. Footage of the landing appeared to show up to eight people on board a small dinghy, which was being towed by a Border Force patrol vessel. According to Sky News, the dingy was picked up by fishermen earlier this morning,...
England female basketball stars were joined by an NBA great to inspire young women to take up their sport. Siobhan Prior and Georgia Jones were joined by three-time NBA champion Bruce Bowen at the Jr. NBA Girls Clinic, hosted at CitySport in Barbican on Monday, before a game at the O2 on Thursday between the Washington Wizards and the New York Knicks. Prior and Jones, who were in the silver medal-winning England Women’s team at the Gold Coast Commonwealth...
Grieving parents heard that new medical practices could have saved their baby, who died in their arms at just four days old from preventable brain damage caused during labour. Sebastian Clark was born at Kingston Hospital on March 8 2017,  with devastating injuries from which he would never recover. Failure by midwives to escalate the case and subsequent failure by doctors to expedite the pregnancy, despite knowing that Sebastian’s mother Alison had develo...
A man has been tasered and arrested by police at a train station in south London. The 59-year old is currently being questioned on suspicion of attempted murder and possession of an offensive weapon after being detained at Tulse Hill. British Transport Police officers were called to the station just after 6:30pm to reports of someone carrying a knife. Nobody was injured and the arrest is not believed to be terror related. Witnesses are being urged to conta...
A mother has died and her eight-month-old boy is in hospital after being hit by a car as they crossed a road. The woman, believed to be in her 20s, was pushing a pram when they were hit in Anerley, south London, last night. The boy is in a serious condition after suffering from life-threatening injuries. The driver of the car that is believed to have hit them was also taken to hospital for non-life-threatening injuries and is helping police with their inqu...
News Company
Breaking up with your partner is always a disastrous event. However, if your partner decides to break up with you, it isn’t necessarily the end. Statistically 66% of exes want to get back together again. 50% of separated couples reunite. Here we will show you tips on how to fix a broken relationship. If you want to find your love you must realize that it is all about respect and understanding your beloved one.  Accepting The Situation  You have to calm dow...
A Londoner who used to contemplate suicide on his morning commute is now running the length of every Tube line to raise money for a mental health charity. Daniel Sherry, 29, quit his sports PR job in April 2018 and set about completing “30 challenges before 30”, including running his first marathon and cycling from London to Paris. His latest exploit is seeing him traverse all 11 lines of the capital’s 249 mile-long underground network above ground, on foo...
The family of London teenager Jayden Moodie say he had no links to gangs and was "murdered in cold blood". Jayden Moodie, 14, was stabbed to death by attackers who knocked him off a moped in Leyton on Tuesday in what police believe was a targeted attack. The teenager had moved from Nottingham to London with his mother six months ago for a "new start". No arrests have been made over Jayden's death, the Met Police has said. Speaking near to the scene where J...
A clubber who ploughed his car onto a packed dance floor in a drink and drug-fuelled rage after being thrown out by bouncers has been jailed for 28 years. Mohammed Abdul said he felt “humiliated” after being ejected from Blake’s nightclub in Gravesend, Kent, on March 17 last year. He drank at least 15 glasses of vodka, tequila shots and more than “five to 10 spliffs” of cannabis before he got behind the wheel of his Suzuki Vitara. Bouncers had kicked him o...