Westminster attacker attended same mosque as terrorists who plotted to bomb Bluewater

Westminster attacker attended same mosque as terrorists who plotted to bomb Bluewater

London terrorist had grudge against Trump, Theresa May, British inquiry panel is told

Khalid Masood, who was ultimately gunned down by authorities after he killed five people by driving an SUV into pedestrians on the bridge and stabbing an unarmed constable on the grounds of Parliament, complained about the “racism and rudeness” of Trump and called May a “liar” and “sick,” his children told authorities.

Attacker Khalid Masood is treated by emergency services outside the Houses of Parliament in London on March 22, 2017.Stefan Rousseau / PA via AP fileMasoods planning for the March 22 attack began when he researched off-road SUVs and reserved a Hyundai Tucson rental for the days leading up to the violence, the jury conducting the inquiry was told. On March 9 he purchased two Sabatier kitchen knives at a store near his U.K. home.

He looked into using gasoline as part of a car-bomb attack, researched improvised explosive devices, and searched online for the prime ministers activities that day, the jury heard. He also researched speed and crash tests for vehicles.

After leaving prison for a second time in 2003, Masood moved to Crawley, where members of the fertiliser bomb cell were at the time planning a plot that would have killed hundreds.

Masood visited his mother in Wales days before the attack, telling her, “Theyll say Im a terrorist. Im not.” He had tried to convert former colleagues to Islam, applying heavy pressure, authorities said.

The Westminster Bridge attacker converted to Islam in jail and went on to attend the same mosque as a man jailed for planning a fertiliser bomb, the Old Bailey was told today.

Westminster attackWestminster attackScenes of Chaos After Attack in Central LondonBy the time the 52-year-old English teacher made the decision in March to plow into pedestrians before heading on foot to the Houses of Parliament, he was at the bottom of a downwared spiral that included debt, unemployment and estrangement from his wife, the panel was told.

Khalid Masood also used the same gym as a man convicted for handing out leaflets in support of Isis, an inquest heard.

In the days before the violence, he stayed at hotels, overstayed the rental period on the SUV and had everything he owned with him. Masood told family—he had four children, his wife, and two ex-wives—he was going to Morocco for a business opportunity, the jury learned.

On the day of the bloodshed, he sent a religious text message with an attached document titled, “Jihad in the Quran and Sunnah,” to a random group of contacts, alarming some, authorities said.

Floral tributes to the victims of the Westminster attack are placed outside the Palace of Westminster, London, Monday March 27, 2017. Attacker Khalid Masood is believed to have used the messaging service WhatsApp before running down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and storming a gate outside Parliament armed with two knives, Wednesday. Four died in the rampage, including a police officer. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)Matt Dunham / APThe inquiry, called an inquest in Great Britain, was expected to last for weeks after beginning Sept. 10. The inquest, heard before a jury, learned about Masoods alleged criminal and violent past.

Born Adrian Elms in Kent, England, he was arrested for shoplifting at 14 and for carrying a weapon at 22. He spent a year in jail after a pub brawl at the age of 35. He converted to Islam in jail, the panel learned.

His mother, Janet Ajao, described Masood as angry and said he would go looking for fights in bars and clubs.

An ex-girlfriend said Masood was a fraudster who carried a knife, used steroids and introduced her to cocaine. He once grabbed her neck and tried to strangle her, the jury was told.

Masood threatened to rape her mother if she stood by her statements to authorities, the jury was told.

London attack heroLondon attack heroAmerican hailed as hero during inquest on Westminster Bridge terror attack”Adrian was vile,” the unnamed woman said in a statement read in court. “He was controlling, violent, obsessive, intelligent and narcissistic. I am amazed he was religious. I honestly believe this was a front, an excuse to hurt people. He will have loved the attention and fear that he caused.”

Despite Masoods despair, the attacker found a glimmer of hope in his life, attributing an acquittal in a knife assault and his daughters survival after being struck by a vehicle to acts of God, the inquest was told.

The stabbing took place in May 2003 when Masood allegedly plunged a knife through his victims nose, the palate of his mouth, his tongue and into his jaw bone with such force the last inch broke off, the panel heard.

Masood told a colleague he had been dealing drugs when he pulled a knife on a man, the jury was told. He said he had prayed before his court appearance and was found not guilty of attempted murder.

A woman lies injured after a shooting incident on Westminster Bridge in London on March 22, 2017.Toby Melville / Reuters fileInvestigators believe that a trigger for Masood was his failed attempt in 2016 to return to Saudi Arabia with his family. He described the country as a “utopia” with “no discrimination,” the jury heard.

Despite an undergraduate degree in economics and experience teaching English, the Saudis requested his criminal history and subsequently rejected his application to return. Whats more, a March 11 Skype interview for a job in the kingdom did not result in an offer.

“This is a potentially significant event,” Hough, the coroners attorney, told the jury. “It was clear he was struggling with money and was in debt at the time of his death.”

Masood would often speak with his two youngest children via video calls, and they later told police about them. Scotland Yard counter-terrorism detective Dan Brown said, “They told him that he thought he was going to die fighting for God.”

Masood, 52, was shot dead by police after stabbing Pc Palmer, 48, to death and ploughing into Kurt Cochran, 54, Leslie Rhodes, 75, Aysha Frade, 44, and Andreea Cristea, 31, on Westminster Bridge in a rented 4×4.

His mother, Janet Ajao, gave evidence at the inquests into his victims deaths on Thursday from underneath the public gallery in the Old Baileys Court One, while the media could only listen to proceedings from another room.

Her application for anonymity was refused by coroner Mark Lucraft QC, along with his wife, Rohey Hydara, before the start of the hearing.

She said in a witness statement that Masood was an "angry person who would get a look in his eyes".

"He was never angry with me and the (only) time that he was, he was using my address, where I currently live, as a bail address, and he had gone down into town.

Mrs Ajao said she was making dinner and asked her son how many pieces of chicken he was looking forward to.

"But he was still merry and I asked a second time and tossed a chicken over the kitchen table and thats when he went."

"I think I referred to him as the Incredible Hulk because it was like he exploded," Mrs Ajao continued.

"My husband went, its all right, its all right, and I just grabbed hold of his arm because I didnt want it to become a violent thing."

The court heard that after he became a father of two and lived with his partner Jane Harvey, he was arrested a number of times.

His mother said: "This was down to drinking. Im ashamed to say I think he quite enjoyed drinking and fighting."

She told the court she heard of one incident involving a knife when her son said he had pushed a man away when he produced a knife.

She said: "I was later phoned by Jane to say it was drug related and I thought yes, I could picture in my mind."

Asked if she was surprised it was drug related, she said: "Not drug related violence. I would say drink related violence, yes."

Mrs Ajao said that on a few occasions Ms Harvey asked her to come round because Masood had come home shouting.

She told the court how her son would go "on and on and on" about Islam after he converted in prison.

"He went on and on. I would put the phone down, make a cup of tea, come back and he would still be talking. I learned all I wanted to learn."

But secret recordings taken by Masoods widow Ms Hydara between 2012 and 2016 revealed he was an Isil supporter and that the pair rowed because she believed "kuffar" newspapers, using the Arabic term for a non-believer. 

They were played at the inquest, and Masood is heard telling his wife: I never hear you say theres anything good in Isil. 

"I never hear you say that some of their people might be sincere and genuine Muslims. All you say is that they are bad, they are wicked, they are evil. You even say that they the same as Jews and Sunnis and that is absolutely disgraceful.

You seem to believe all this propaganda. Stop being a sheep. Think for yourself.  I really do not see eye you eye with you on this issue. You make me made. I am furious." 

Westminster Bridge attacker Khalid Masood attended the same mosque as terrorists convicted of plotting a series of fertiliser bomb attacks after converting to Islam in jail, an inquest was told.

An inquest into his victims deaths heard how he converted to Islam after he was jailed for a flick knife attack in 2000, and could have been radicalised as early as 2004.

He moved to Crawley, in West Sussex, after he was released from Lewes prison in December 2003, having become a "zealous convert" after crediting his religion for a "miracle" acquittal from an attempted murder charge.

Masood attended the Langley Green mosque in the town, where terrorist Jawad Akbar had set up a "Sunday school", the Old Bailey heard. Akbar, along with Crawley residents Waheed Mahmood and Omar Khyam, were part of a gang arrested after fertiliser was found stored in a warehouse in Hanwell, west London, in early 2004.

They were jailed in 2007 for a plot to bomb public places such as the Ministry of Sound nightclub in London and the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.

Masood had come on to the radar of the security services at around the time of the plot, while one of his associates was arrested after his mobile phone shop was raided in a terror probe, the inquest heard.

But asked whether he was picked up on the periphery of the police investigation, counter-terror officer Detective Chief Inspector Dan Brown said: "In the police investigation, no."

The inquest heard a book by Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, the founder of al-Qaeda, was among a large amount of material collected by Masood which was uncovered following the Westminster attack. It was passed to one of Masoods associates in 2004 before he left on one of several trips to Saudi Arabia, where he taught English.

Gareth Patterson QC, representing families of Masoods victims, suggested: "In a very short amount of time, this Muslim convert had been radicalised – in 2004."

Mr Brown said: "He was in possession of that material he was obviously reading. As to whether he believed in that material I wouldnt be able to comment."

His oldest daughter was converted to Islam, according to her mother, and Masood "effectively abducted" his younger daughter in a failed attempt to convert her too, when she was aged 16.

According to a woman he chatted with through a dating agency, he had set up a Dawah stall to spread his faith.

Material recovered from Masoods electronic devices dating back to 2010 contained a possible insight into his mindset, referring to "killing enemies of Islam" such as "filthy misguided Christians", "Jews" and "non-believers".

The court heard that between 2012 and 2016, Masood had on his laptop an image of the attack on the World Trade Centre, an Osama Bin Laden biography and pictures of a combat knife, a zombie knife and an IED.

Mr Patterson said: "He was clearly a radical Islamist throughout this period and there is a wealth of material that shows from an early stage in his conversions right back to 2004 he was a radical extremist."

He said his wife Rohey Hydara had said he had met a friend on an electronic tag in a Chadwell Heath park, leaving his phone at home, displaying "classic anti-surveillance techniques".

According to a police report of February 2008, he had been in contact with a Crawley-based male arrested for terrorism offences but not charged. Mr Brown refused to identify the suspect, citing national security.

The court heard Masood attended the same Luton gym as Ibrahim Anderson and knew him "to say hi to". Anderson was convicted of inviting support for Isil outside Topshop on Oxford Street.

But Mr Brown denied he had links to any of the men convicted of plotting a terror attack on a Luton Territorial Army base in 2013.

The court heard Masood chose to live in Crawley, Luton and Birmingham, all said to be "strongholds" of the banned Islamist group ALM (al-Muhajiroun). The lawyer suggested police would want to know if Masood had been "mucking around with ALM people again, again and again".

The inquest heard that over 17 years between 1998 and 2015 there had been 269 Islamist-related offences by 117 offenders. Of those, 43% had links to ALM. In common with Masood, some 38% of convicted terrorists had a history of violence.

Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood referred to his murderous attack as an "exciting opportunity" in "chilling" handwritten notes made days earlier, an inquest has heard.

His final thoughts as he planned the atrocity were scrawled on a road atlas found in his rented 4×4 after he used it to plough through pedestrians before knifing a policeman to death.

An inquest into his victims deaths heard he had been searching for Isis online along with other terrorist material.

Next to a map of the UK Masood wrote "previous examples" followed by "this life right time," "all outcomes are good so go ahead".

Dominic Adamson, representing the widows of murdered Pc Keith Palmer, 48, and American tourist Keith Cochran, 54, said: "Under that word, chillingly, exciting opportunity."

Two days before the attack, Masood had searched for the driving capabilities of the Hyundai Tucson he had rented to carry out the attack.

He wrote "drive modesport mode" followed by "between seats" and "lock doors".

Mr Adamson said: "The notes we see on this page seem to correlate with events happening in the days prior to the attack."

Counter-terror officer Detective Inspector Dan Brown agreed: "I think so. He was noting down his own thoughts."

But he added: "We know he was still looking for jobs at that time so it could be interpreted in a number of ways."


Posted in Westminster