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'This was not an accident': Westminster attacker found guilty of attempted murder

Salih Khater circled Parliament Square four times before accelerating into cyclists stopped at traffic lights and then crashing into a police barrier.

Image: PA Archive/PA Images

A MAN WHO deliberately drove his car into cyclists and police officers outside Westminster parliament in London has been convicted of attempted murder today.

The Crown Prosecution Service counter terrorism division which prosecuted Salih Khater said it was reasonable to assume he had a terrorist motive on 14 August 2018. Khater circled Parliament Square four times before accelerating into cyclists stopped at traffic lights and then crashing into a police barrier.

Jenny Hopkins from the CPS said it was “only quick reactions and good luck” that prevented loss of life that day.

“His driving was so precise and determined that it was difficult for skilled accident investigators to repeat the manoeuvre he carried out,” she said.

“Whatever his motives, this was not an accident. It was a deliberate attempt to kill and maim as many people as possible.”

The attack left several cyclists needing hospital treatment. Two police officers narrowly escaped serious injury by jumping out of the way of the oncoming car. Khater’s defence was that it was an accident.

Salih Khater court case Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Salih Khater, of Highgate Street, Birmingham, in the dock at Westminster Magistrates' Court . Source: PA Archive/PA Images

The Old Bailey heard how the 30-year-old drove to London from Birmingham in the early hours of 14 August last year. He spent the hours before the attack sleeping in his car and then carrying out reconnaissance of the area around Parliament.

CCTV footage of the incident was analysed by an accident investigator who found Khater deliberately manoeuvred his car over 160 metres, but did so with a high level of concentration.

Khater will be sentenced at a later date.

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