Mother of Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood ‘feared son would kill as a teenager’

Khalid Masood was shot dead by police after ploughing a rented vehicle into pedestrians and fatally stabbing police officer Keith Palmer. Credit: PA

The mother of Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood feared he would kill someone while he was still a teenager, an inquest has heard.

His failed relationships, violent criminal past and conversion to Islam during the first of two spells in prison were laid bare at the inquest into his victims’ deaths on Wednesday.

Masood, 52, was shot dead by police after fatally stabbing PC Keith Palmer, 48, and ploughing into Kurt Cochran, 54, Leslie Rhodes, 75, Aysha Frade, 44, and Andreea Cristea, 31, on Westminster Bridge in a rented 4×4, causing fatal injuries.

The Old Bailey heard Masood believed his Muslim faith was reinforced by a number of “miracles in his life”.

Masood first got into trouble with the police for shoplifting when he was just 14 years old while at school in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, where he lived with his mother, stepfather and two stepbrothers.

Counter-terror officer Detective Chief Inspector Dan Brown said: “His mother suggested he exhibited normal boisterous behaviour, but his two brothers suggested he was a violent, disruptive person, who would not back down from a disagreement.”

The Old Bailey heard Masood’s mother Janet Ajao told police he would go out to pubs and clubs looking for a fight as an older teenager.

“She also described him as an angry person,” said DCI Brown.

“She was worried he would kill someone through fighting.”

John Hough QC, counsel for the inquest, described a “number of incidents of significant violence escalating in seriousness and apparently becoming more regular”.

In May 2003, Masood plunged a carving knife through the nose of Daniel Smith, who had suggested Masood was an undercover policeman.

In what was described as a “horrific incident”, the blade went through the palate of his mouth, through the tongue and into his jaw with such force the last inch of the blade broke off.

Tobias Ellwood MP was at the scene where PC Keith Palmer was attacked. Credit: PA

Masood claimed self-defence and was acquitted of attempted murder, wounding with intent and having a bladed weapon.

He was released from West Sussex’s Lewes prison, where he had been held on remand, in December 2003 based on time served having been convicted of another weapons offence.

The inquest heard he credited his acquittal as well as the survival of his eldest daughter, who was later involved in a serious car accident, as the “miracles” that reinforced his Muslim faith after he had converted to Islam during his first spell in prison.