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Violent Since Childhood, Westminster Terror Attacker Started Reading Quran in Prison Inquest Hears

Khalid Masood

The inquest into the 2017 Westminster terror attack has heard evidence from the Islamist killer’s mother, who told the hearing that she long feared Khalid Masood’s violence, which he exhibited from a young age.

Details that have emerged about Khalid Masood, the Islamist extremist who killed five on Westminster Bridge and in Palace Yard, include his long criminal history and apparent conversion to Islam in prison. His first arrest, age 14, was for shoplifting but soon he was involved with police for more serious crimes.

It is possible that he may have been racially motivated at times. In 1998, Masood punched a woman in the face, claiming she had been racist towards him. The woman defended herself, saying it was his attitude, not skin colour that she disliked, reports the Evening Standard.

Among his violent behaviour was possession of an offensive weapon, attacking police officers responding to a crime, and he was jailed for two years in 2000 for stabbing a man in the face with a flick-knife. After his release, he again cut a man with a flick-knife, glassed another man in a pub fight, and was accused of beating an individual with a blunt weapon.

In 2003, he stabbed a man in the face and nose with a carving knife but was acquitted after he claimed it was in self-defence.

During this time he was also suspected of victim intimidation, and it is said developed an interest in Islam, reading the Quran in jail. Police said there were no signs of extremism at this time.

The inquest heard the comments of Masood’s mother, who described him as both a “boisterous” and “angry” person, and she worried that as a young man he would “kill someone” through the fights he actively sought. It also heard how Masood told his children that he was planning to die while fighting for God.

The latest round of evidence follows the previous day’s submissions when the inquest heard how inadequate security procedures left unarmed police officer Keith Palmer, who was guarding the gate of Westminster Palace at the time of Masood’s attack, vulnerable. A lawyer told the court the security system at the palace “had not been functioning for years… [and] completely failed to protect Pc Palmer”.

Questions over the effectiveness of the security plan had been raised as early as 2015 but not acted upon, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Khalid Masood, who was shot dead at the scene, launched his Westminster attack at 14:40 on the 22nd March 2017, when he accelerated a hired 4×4 vehicle into pedestrians crossing Westminster Bridge, running some over and knocking others into the river. Crashing his vehicle into the railing surrounding the Palace, Masood then went on foot to the Palace Yard gate where he stabbed a police officer to death.

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