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Westminster attacker became 'Incredible Hulk' in family row over chicken dinner, inquest told

Westminster attacker Khalid Masood. Credit: Press Association Images

The mother of Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood said he was an angry person who once turned into the "Incredible Hulk" during a row over a chicken dinner.

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

His mother, Janet Ajao, gave evidence at the inquests into his victims’ deaths on Thursday from underneath the public gallery in the Old Bailey’s Court One.

Her application for anonymity was refused by coroner Mark Lucraft QC, along with his wife, Rohey Hydara, before the start of the hearing.

Masood’s mother claimed she had no idea what her son had in mind when he told her: "They’ll say I’m a terrorist. I’m not."

Khalid Masood was shot dead by police after stabbing Pc Keith Palmer to death Credit: PA

She said: "I know it sounds ridiculous but it didn’t enter my head," she said. "I’m utterly ashamed. I’m ashamed he’s done this."

"I think he’s always been a fiery, angry personality," she told the inquest.

"He was never angry with me and the (only) time that he was, he was using my address, where I currently live, as a bail address, and he had gone down into town. He was drinking and he came home merry."

Mrs Ajao said she was making dinner and asked her son how many pieces of chicken he would like.

"But he was still merry and I asked a second time and tossed a chicken over the kitchen table and that’s when he went."

"I think I referred to him as the Incredible Hulk because it was like he exploded," Mrs Ajao continued.

"My husband went, 'it’s all right, it’s all right', and I just grabbed hold of his arm because I didn’t want it to become a violent thing."

Pc Keith Palmer was killed. Credit: PA

Mrs Ajao told the court her son could be violent when he had been drinking.

The court heard after he became a father of two and lived with his partner Jane Harvey, he was arrested a number of times.

His mother said: "I’m ashamed to say I think he quite enjoyed drinking and fighting."

She told the court she heard of one incident involving a knife when her son said he had pushed a man away when he produced a knife.

She said: "I was later phoned by Jane to say it was drug related and I thought yes, I could picture in my mind."

Mrs Ajao said on a few occasions Ms Harvey asked her to come round because Masood had come home shouting.

“I always sat on the settee next to Jane to give her support.”

She told the court how her son would go "on and on and on" about Islam after he converted in prison.

Copy of Masood's CV. Credit: Metropolitan Police

There was laughter in court as she said: "He never stopped talking about it. On and on and on. And he would phone and I would say ‘how are you, how are things, how are the children? He went on and on. I would put the phone down, make a cup of tea, come back and he would still be talking. I learned all I wanted to learn."

She said he never expressed extremist views to her or hostility or hatred towards others.

Mrs Ajao said the fact Masood did not get into a grammar school when the family moved to Tunbridge Wells was a "matter of concern to him throughout his life", in particular the year before his death.

The court was shown an email Masood sent to his mother in May 2013 in which he blamed the failings in his life on not having gone to grammar school like his two stepbrothers.

In a second email sent on March 7 last year, Masood spoke of his plans to go to Morocco and said he would visit her in Wales on March 16.

He arrived in the rented Hyundai Tucson he used as a weapon six days later.

CCTV images of hire vehicle at St Thomas' Hospital Credit: Metropolitan Police

Mrs Ajao told how he made her utter Islamic phrases such as "Allah is the one true God and Mohammed the prophet" over dinner and again before he left the following day.

Gareth Patterson QC, representing some of the victims’ families, said: "By your failure to do anything to follow up on that comment a golden opportunity was missed to prevent that attack."

Mrs Ajao said: "With hindsight, yes, I can see it would have made a difference… but at the time it didn’t occur to me that this was going to happen."

She insisted that had she believed he was going to carry out a terror attack she would have dialled 999.

The inquest heard she did not know of the attack until she watched the 10 o’clock news.

"As soon as I saw the body, I just knew. I just knew," she said.

Addressing the victims’ families after her evidence, she said: "Please understand I continue to be deeply saddened by the hurt that my son has caused and want to offer my deepest sympathies and condolences."