In March of last year, radical Islamist terrorist Khalid Masood used a rented vehicle to plow through a crowd of pedestrians on the Westminster Bridge in London prior to jumping out of the wrecked vehicle and fatally stabbing a police officer.
British authorities have conducted an inquest into the deaths caused by the terrorist attack. According to the U.K. Telegraph, the inquest documented Masood’s preparations for the attack in his final days, laid bare his lengthy criminal history and conversion to Islam, as well as a potential political motivation to go along with his radical ideology for the deadly assault.
The 52-year-old Masood, who was shot dead by police after fatally stabbing officer Keith Palmer and murdering four other individuals with the rented van, was spotted on surveillance camera footage in a number of different places in the days and weeks prior to the attack.
Those places include the retail store where he purchased the knives used in the attack, the facility where he rented the truck, a hotel he had stayed for a few days and even a restaurant where he enjoyed a final meal before launching his jihadist attack.
He was also spotted on camera conducting reconnaissance of the bridge prior to, and on the day of, the attack, as well as his use of a nearby car park to stage himself for his murderous run down the bus lane and sidewalk of the bridge.
The inquest even produced the terrorist’s attack-related internet searches and video calls Masood made to his children in the final days, calls in which Detective Chief Inspector Dan Brown said Masood shared odd dreams he’d been recently having and “told them that he was going to die fighting for God.”
Brown also noted that Masood had spoken critically of President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May in the calls with his children, criticizing Trump for his “racism and rudeness” and describing May as a “liar” who was also “sick.”
It was further revealed that the bridge attack only came about as an alternative to an initial plot to assassinate May with knives in an attack on Westminster itself.
Brown noted that as part of Masood’s preparations and reconnaissance ahead of the attack, the terrorist made inquires with a gas station in Birmingham, leading investigators to believe that he had possibly planned to somehow incorporate gas into his jihadist attack.
The inquest also noted that Masood had visited his mother and stepfather in Wales several days prior to the attack, which investigators believe was a “goodbye visit.” The report also said that as he was leaving his mother and stepfather, his final words to them were, “They will say I’m a terrorist. I’m not.”
Masood was born in 1964 with the name Adrian Russell Elms and was raised by his mother and father in affluent neighborhoods of London. His first contact with police came at the age of 14 when he was arrested for shoplifting, but his career as a criminal was only getting started.
The eventual terrorist had numerous run-ins with the law over the years for charges ranging from fighting, possession of deadly weapons and for stealing. He also allegedly assaulted a police officer after being arrested for badly beating another individual.
He received a two-year jail sentence in 2000 for attacking a bouncer at a pub with a knife as he was being ejected for attacking another customer. It was during that prison sentence that he is suspected of converting to Islam and changing his name to Masood.
There were other arrests for violent assaults, and several of his romantic relationships were ended over his violent behavior, which culminated with two violent assaults in May 2003 — one which involved a severe beating of a man with a police baton and another in which he stabbed a man through the face with a carving knife. Somehow, Masood managed to claim self-defense in those cases and avoided conviction on attempted murder charges.
The kicker of the report was included almost as an afterthought in the final paragraph, but which could explain his radicalization that led to the fatal terrorist attack in 2017: Masood spent a year in Saudi Arabia from 2005-2006 where he taught English as a foreign language.
This murderous jihadist had a lengthy criminal history and, by way of his actions ahead of the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack, showed malice and forethought — and possibly even a political motivation — ahead of his fatal attack on innocent pedestrians and a police officer.
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