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Man who drove into crowd in Westminster jailed for life

Salih Khater drove his car at pedestrians, cyclists and two police officers in August 2018.

Salih Khater
Salih Khater
Image: Metropolitan Police

A MAN WHO drove his car into a crowd of people outside the Houses of Parliament in London last year has been jailed for life.

Salih Khater drove his car at pedestrians, cyclists and two police officers before crashing into a barrier at the Palace of Westminster on 14 August 2018.

The 30-year-old was today given a life sentence following an investigation by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.

Khater, of Highgate Street, Birmingham, was previously found guilty at the Old Bailey on 17 July of two counts of attempted murder. 

On sentencing, the judge found that the offence has a ‘terrorist connection’ under section 30 of the Terrorism Act 2008. Khater was sentenced to life imprisonment and must serve a minimum of 15 years before being considered for parole.

Commander Richard Smith, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, welcomed that “an extremely dangerous individual will be behind bars for a considerable time”.

“This was a man who used his car as a weapon to attempt to kill as many people as possible spreading fear and terror. It was our view that this attack was carried out with a terrorist purpose and the sentence confirms this.”

Thoughts with victims 

Smith paid tribute to the “outstanding professionalism and bravery of all the officers who responded to this incident”.

My thoughts too are with all the victims of this terrible attack. Many were left with physical and psychological injuries, which are still impacting on their lives today. I only hope that today’s outcome can give them some small comfort.

Just after 7.30am on 14 August 2018, Khater drove three times around Parliament Square. On his fourth time, he suddenly veered off at speed, driving at opposing traffic on Abingdon Street, outside the Houses of Parliament.

He first struck a jogger crossing the road. He then drove into 14 cyclists, striking some and causing others to fall to the ground. Six of them received injuries, including a broken collarbone and bruising.

Khater then swerved across the central traffic island towards the Palace of Westminster and accelerated directly at two uniformed police officers positioned inside the Palace’s security barrier. Both officers narrowly managed to jump clear and avoid being struck as the car collided into the barrier.

Armed officers rapidly moved in and arrested Khater on suspicion of terrorist offences. A search of the vehicle did not find any other weapons. Khater was taken to a south London police station and did not comment throughout the interview.

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Órla Ryan

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