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Elderly Westminster attack victim 'dragged along road for 33 metres' suffered 'unsurvivable injuries'

A 75-year-old man who was hit by an SUV in the Westminster attack suffered "unsurvivable" injuries as he was dragged for around 33 metres before coming to a stop in a "very crumpled, disorganised manner in the road".

Retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes was "unresponsive and needed immediate medical attention", said passing doctor Gareth Lloyd.

Medics who had rushed to his aid were initially told that a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) team were on their way to assist, but the crew was apparently sent to the aid of PC Keith Palmer, who had been stabbed near the Palace of Westminster.

Gareth Patterson QC, for the family, questioned whether it resulted in a delay in the “golden hour” for treating someone after they are injured.

Westminster terror attack: timings. Credit: PA

Paramedic Gary Moody told the Old Bailey: “We were still continuing treatment then by central control room I was informed they were with another patient who had been stabbed somewhere around Parliament.

“Since then I knew they landed in Parliament Square.”

Mr Patterson asked Mr Moody: “You asked for the help of HEMS, Leslie was a classic case for the very quick and significant assistance they can provide there on the road.”

The witness replied: “He would have been, yes.”

Mr Patterson went on: “You were told that they were on their way but later you were told that they were heading elsewhere and you asked ‘what about my patient?’”

The paramedic replied: “We had got to a point in Leslie’s treatment where we could do no more for him at the scene.

“I spoke to control room to find out what was happening. That was when I was informed they were being diverted to someone else.”

Mr Moody said a HEMS team could have administered an anaesthetic to Mr Rhodes on the bridge and performed treatment to assist his breathing, but that he did not know whether that would have been detrimental.

Kurt Cochran, Keith Palmer, Andreea Cristea, Aysha Frade and Leslie Rhodes. Credit: Met Police

More testimony revealed the first man to die in the attack reacted in typical fashion as he pushed his wife away from potentially fatal impact, she told the inquest.

American Melissa Cochran and her husband Kurt had been "spending the entire day seeing everything we could see" before Khalid Masood ploughed into them on Westminster Bridge.

Mr Cochran, 54, pushed his wife out of the way moments before Masood deliberately drove at them.

Giving evidence, Mrs Cochran told how she had no recollection of the moment her husband pushed her out of the way but she said it was typical of her husband.

She was badly injured but survived, while her husband was thrown from the balustrade and killed on the afternoon of March 22 last year.

Mrs Cochran said she spent about a month recovering in hospital afterwards.

Kurt Cochran was hit while walking on the bridge with his wife Melissa. Credit: Met Police

Elsewhere on the bridge Mr Rhodes was being treated and he arrived at King’s Hospital 10 minutes after the land ambulance left the scene.

Dr Lloyd, an ear, nose and throat specialist, was walking over the bridge to see a patient at St Thomas’ Hospital when he saw Masood drive “erratically” onto the pavement and hit three pedestrians.

He went to treat Mr Rhodes because he appeared to be the most gravely injured.

Mr Lloyd said: “He was lying in a very crumpled, disorganised manner in the road. He had not tried to move from the position he landed in.”

He had suffered “an obviously life-threatening” head injury, the inquest heard.

“I recall thinking that this would be a significant injury for an adult of any age, for an older man the potential for significant life-threatening injury was severe.”

Khalid Masood was shot by police following his deadly rampage. Credit: Met Police

With help from a member of the public he laid Mr Rhodes on his back, and carried out a jaw-thrust manoeuvre to allow him to breathe. He was then laid in the recovery position.

The medic stayed with Mr Rhodes until he was admitted to intensive care in hospital.

He heard on the news later that the pensioner had died, but said he had been expecting the news.

“Probably from the moment that I saw his head injury on the bridge, and the age of Mr Rhodes, I felt that this was likely to be an unsurvivable injury.”