Police reveal details about Westminster attacker

Police reveal details about Westminster attacker
Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old British man from Kent with a string of criminal convictions, has been named as the killer of three people in yesterday's terror attack in London.
3 min read
23 March, 2017
At least eight people were arrested in police raids on Thursday [Getty]

Police have identified the perpetrator of Wednesday's attacks in London, who was revealed to be a middle aged family man from Kent.

Fifty-two-year-old Khalid Masood was born in Kent, south-east England, and known by "a number of aliases".

He had last been living in the West Midlands, including Birmingham, was a father of three children, and a "convert" according to Sky News.

Masood was said to be "very religious, well spoken man. You couldn't go to his home in Birmingham on Friday because he would be at prayer", a source told Sky News.

At least eight people were arrested in relation to the attack following major police raids across London and Birmingham on Thursday.

Masood had been previously arrested for assault, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences, but was not subject to an open investigation.

He was a teacher and body builder, according to Sky News, and a father of three.

"There was no prior intelligence about his intent to mount a terrorist attack," the police said.

Masood was first conviction was in November 1983 for criminal damage and his last was in December 2003 for possession of a knife.

Car rental company Enterprise said that the car used in the attack was rented from their Birmingham collect service.

"[It was] used in the tragic attack in London yesterday afternoon was one of ours," the company said in a statement.

An Enterprise employee identified the vehicle after seeing the license plate in an image online. 

On Thursday members of the UK's Muslim community were condemned the deadly attack which left three people dead - a mother picking up her children from school, an American tourist and an unarmed police officer.

"This attack was cowardly and depraved. There is no justification for this act whatsoever. The best response to this outrage is to make sure we come together in solidarity and not allow the terrorists to divide us," said Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain in a statement on Thursday.

"My condolences, thoughts and prayers go to the families of the victims... I hope my Muslim brothers and sisters will reach out to fellow Londoners and Britons in solidarity to demonstrate that such hatred will not defeat our way of life."

Read also: "Battling extremism: A mother's lament for a radicalised son"

Khan is set to join other Londoners in a candlelit vigil in solidarity with the victims in Trafalgar Square on Thursday evening.

Striking a similar tone to Khan, Nicola Benyahia, the founder of Birmingham-based anti-radicalisation charity Families for Life also condemned the attack.

She expressed concern that the tragic event could lead to a backlash against Muslims in the UK.

"When events like this happen people hold their breath, even though the Muslim community is totally against it, people fear a backlash from other extremists from the far-right," said Benyahia, speaking to The New Arab.

Benyahia established Families for Life after her son Rasheed was radicalised and travelled to Syria in May 2015 to fight for the Islamic State group.

He was killed in an airstrike targeting IS militants on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq in November 2015.

"This individual's actions were wrong on every level. It is important to emphasise that this was the act of an individual and is no way representative of the Muslim community."