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Inquests opened for victims of Westminster terrorist attack

News   •   Mar 29, 2017 13:45 BST

The inquests into the deaths of the victims of the Westminster terrorist attack opened and adjourned today, Wednesday 29 March under the authority of Senior Coroner for Westminster, Dr Fiona Wilcox.

Providing evidence to the inquest Detective Superintendent John Crossley, who is leading the police investigation under Operation Classific, provided an outline of the circumstances that resulted in the four deaths.

On Wednesday, 22, March 2017 at approximately 14:40hrs a man drove a Hyundai, vehicle index EK66 RWO, northbound over Westminster Bridge travelling in the direction of the Palace of Westminster.

The driver mounted the pavement twice in an apparently deliberate attempt to target pedestrians before mounting the pavement for a final time and crashing the car into the east perimeter gates of the Palace of Westminster.

The man then left the car armed with two large knives and ran into the vehicle entrance gateway known as Carriage Gates, at the north perimeter fence of the Palace of Westminster.

The man attacked a police officer in the grounds of the Palace of Westminster with the knives causing grave wounds and killing the officer - PC Keith Palmer.

As a result of the attack in excess of 35 people were injured. The injuries ranged from cuts and bruises to extensive bone and skull fractures.

Two people, in addition to PC Palmer and the attacker, died at the scene. One other person was taken to hospital from the scene where he died as a result of his injuries the following day.

One further person remains in hospital in a coma, suffering extensive injuries.

The incident lasted approximately 82 seconds - from the first time the vehicle mounted the pavement until the attacker was shot by police. CCTV and other images obtained from witnesses provide a clear visual chronology of how the events unfolded.

Mrs Aysha Frade, aged 44, a British national, died at the scene. Her time of death is recorded as 15:08hrs on Wednesday, 22 March.

Police Constable Keith Palmer, aged 48, a British national, died at the scene. His time of death is recorded as 15:34hrs on Wednesday, 22 March.

Mr Kurt Cochran, aged 54, a USA national, died at the scene. His time of death is recorded as 17:34hrs on Wednesday, 22 March.

Mr Leslie Arthur Rhodes, aged 75, a British national, was taken from the scene to King's College Hospital with critical injuries. On Thursday, 23 March at around 20:25hrs life support was withdrawn. This is recorded as the time of death.

A provisional date for the pre-inquest review was set by the coroner as 19 May at the royal Courts of Justice.