The terror attack that struck London last week lasted less than a minute and a half from the moment the killer’s car mounted the pavement on Westminster Bridge to the second he was shot, Scotland Yard has revealed.
The information emerged as detectives confirmed that they are still trying to establish whether the attacker, Khalid Masood, worked alone or with an accomplice. Four people died and 50 were injured when Masood — born Adrian Elms — drove his car into pedestrians before stabbing a police officer on Wednesday. PC Keith Palmer was killed despite wearing a protective vest. Fourteen people remain in hospital.
Detectives investigating the incident have made 11 arrests and raided a number of addresses across London, Birmingham and Carmarthenshire. All but one of those arrested — a 58-year-old man detained in Birmingham — have now been released from custody. Police have not yet disclosed who this man is or what his suspected connection to Masood might be.
None of the others who were arrested face further action, except for a 32-year-old woman apprehended in Manchester, who is on bail to a date in late March.
Scotland Yard’s investigation has established that attack started at 14:40:08, when the car driven by Masood first mounted the northbound pavement on Westminster Bridge. He continued towards Bridge Street along both the footpath and road until 14:40:38, when he crashed into the perimeter fence of the Palace of Westminster. He left the vehicle and was shot by a police firearms officer inside the Palace of Westminster boundary at 14:41:30.
The whole incident lasted 82 seconds.
Commenting on the Metropolitan Police’s findings, Neil Basu, senior national co-ordinator for UK Counter Terrorism Policing, said the force “still believe” that Masood acted alone and that there was “no information or intelligence” to suggest that further attacks are planned.
“Even if he acted alone in the preparation we need to establish with absolute clarity why he did these unspeakable acts to bring reassurance to Londoners, and to provide answers and closure for the families of those killed and the victims and survivors of this atrocity,” Mr Basu said. “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,” Mr Basu added.
Detectives have seized 2,700 items in their inquiries, including large amounts of computer data, and have contacted approximately 3,500 witnesses.
The attack — which occurred when Theresa May, the prime minister, was in the Commons chamber — has prompted calls for a review of parliamentary security. Former Met commissioner Ian Blair said earlier Saturday he was “absolutely certain” that there would now be a review of the “outer soft ring” around the Palace of Westminster.
“Always behind [this ring] is the inner core of armed officers, but PC Keith Palmer has paid with his life for that soft outer rim and I think that his family at least, and everybody else, needs the reassurance that will be reviewed,” Lord Blair told the BBC.
“I’m absolutely certain that there will have to be changes,” the peer added. “People are used to the fact that if they go into Downing Street they are confronted by basically closed gates and armed officers, and I’m afraid that’s what will have to happen, but we’ll leave it to the reviews to see what it is.”
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