Westminster attack victim Kurt Cochran's widow says 'life saving push' was 'typical of husband'

Kurt Cochran walking on to the bridge with his wife Melissa. Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The first man to die in the Westminster terror attack reacted in typical fashion as he pushed his wife away from potentially fatal impact, two and a half hours into their one day London trip, his widow has said.

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, an Old Bailey inquest heard.

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

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.

On March 22 Mrs Cochran and her husband had been visiting London from the US as part of a tour of Europe, visiting a number of tourist attractions and ending up at Westminster Abbey.

Mrs Cochran told the court the pair had "two and a half hours in London before the attack".

Kurt Cochran with his wife Melissa, who was also injured in the attack. Credit: Family handout

Mrs Cochran remembered looking to her right on the bridge with her husband on the left as a car approached.

She said: "My next recollection, after I read some of the witness statements, I remember seeing the front of a car revving.

"I remember seeing the front of the vehicle. The next thing I remember, being on the ground."

Mrs Cochran said she was badly injured and spent about a month in hospital afterwards.

Kurt Cochran, Keith Palmer, Andreea Cristea, Aysha Frade and Leslie Rhodes.

She added: "We were just spending the entire day seeing everything we could see.

"We had one day in London so we were cramming everything in we could.

"We had two and a half hours in London before the attack."

Gareth Patterson QC, for three of the victims, asked: "Kurt’s right arm went out.

“Do you remember when he reached across and then pushed you out of the way?"

Mrs Cochran said she had no memory of it, but added that it was typical of her husband.

Kurt and Melissa Cochran walk across Westminster Bridge Credit: Metropolitan Police/PA

In a statement read to the court by her sister earlier in the inquest, Mrs Cochran said she was grateful for her husband's life saving reaction.

“I was so lucky to have had 25 wonderful years with the man of my dreams. He made me laugh every single day,” she said.

She added: “I am forever grateful for the time we had together, allowing me to be the mother to his children and especially his heroic actions on that day, saving my life.”

Kurt Cochran's 'typical' reaction potentially saved his wife's life. Credit: Met Police

In the space of 82 seconds Masood knocked down Mr Cochran, Leslie Rhodes, 75, Aysha Frade, 44, and Andreea Cristea, 31, before stabbing Pc Keith Palmer to death at the gates to the Palace of Westminster.

The Old Bailey has heard he was going on average 31mph on the bridge, targeting pedestrians on the pavement before crashing the Hyundai Tucson into railings.

The rampage ended when he was shot dead by a plainclothes officer who had rushed to the scene.

Investigators who trawled through thousands of hours of CCTV footage have concluded he acted alone, the inquest heard.

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

Eyewitness Kylie Smith, a teacher who was accompanying a group of teenage schoolchildren on a trip to London that day, said Masood had deliberately targeted Mr Cochran as he stood by a souvenir stand on the bridge.

"It was very clearly a deliberate act. The way he turned the car to change the direction," she told the inquest.

"There was a couple walking hand in hand who I had previously been watching across the bridge, walking along having a nice time.

"The car came towards them. The man tried to pull his girlfriend behind him, tried to shield her from the impact.

"The man went over the car and just flew up in the air.

"It was chaos. It was just chaos. People trying to get out of the way but nobody really had a chance."

The inquest continues.