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London attack: 'I met killer Khalid Masood in reception of a Brighton hotel'

24 March

Terrorist Khalid Masood was "joking" with hotel staff in the run-up to the attack - and used a phone messaging app seconds before striking.  

Masood was described as "very friendly" by the manager of Brighton's Preston Park Hotel, where he stayed the night before the attack.
"He was laughing and joking," hotel manager Sabeur Toumi told Sky News, echoing comments from guest Michael Petersen.
Mr Petersen, a businessman, said he saw Masood in reception on the morning of the attack.
"I noticed a very polite demeanour from the killer," Mr Petersen said.
"There's nothing in his conduct that would make me have suspicious thoughts towards him."
When asked how he felt about having met the terrorist, Mr Petersen replied: "I have been thinking about that since.
"The shocking realisation that you can stand next to somebody that is totally, perfectly normal.
"Articulate, polite, presentable - and the guy is on his way to commit mass murder.
"That means it could potentially be anyone you're standing next to. That is quite a shocking realisation."
The pair spoke as Sky learned that Masood had used the Whatsapp messaging service at 2.37pm on Wednesday.
He launched his attack at 2.38pm.
It is unclear whether he was communicating with somebody.
News of Masood's movements in the run-up to the murders came as police revealed there had been two new "significant arrests".
Scotland Yard's top anti-terror officer Mark Rowley said the two were held in the West Midlands and Manchester.
He also revealed that the full birth name of the attacker - who used many aliases - was Adrian Russell Ajao.
It is understood Ajao changed his name to Khalid Masood after reportedly having a religious conversion.
Islamic State claimed Masood was one of its "soldiers" and "carried out the operation in answer to calls to target the people of coalition states."
According to a Sky source who met him in a professional capacity, he had a wife and three children.
The source described Masood as "a big bloke", adding: "He looked like he was a bodybuilder, (you) wouldn't want to mess with him."
He added that Masood was a "very religious, well-spoken man", who had "converted" to Islam.
"You couldn't go to his home in Birmingham on Friday because he would be at prayer," the source said.
According to reports Masood had previously worked as an English teacher, though not in any of England's state schools.
Some reports suggested he had spent four years in Saudi Arabia, leading to speculation he may have been radicalised there.
:: 'Hero' PC Keith Palmer's family: He was 'a friend to everyone'
Police said Masood had been "known by a number of aliases", including Adrian Elms.
While he was born in Kent on Christmas Day 1964, detectives believe he had been living most recently in the West Midlands.
His name is also registered as living at addresses in Brighton, Eastbourne, Luton and London.
An old black and white photograph shows Masood as a schoolboy footballer at Huntley Secondary School for Boys in Tunbridge Wells.
A neighbour at his most recent address in Winson Green, Birmingham, said Masood was a keen gardener who had a wife and young child.
The neighbour said her experience of him was of a "nice man" and that he had moved away from the mews house three months ago.
Armed police with machine guns also raided a flat in another part of the city, storming the second-storey property in Hagley Road overnight.
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said there was "no prior intelligence about his intent to mount a terrorist attack".
:: Timeline of terror in London
Masood "was not the subject of any current investigations", they said.
Nevertheless, "he was known to police and has a range of previous convictions for assaults"
These included convictions for GBH, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences, spanning 20 years from 1983.
According to a court report in 2000, he was jailed for two years for slashing a man's face with a knife.
The Brighton Argus reported that Masood, who stood trial as Adrian Elms, "left Piers Mott with a three-inch gash on his left cheek",
It required 20 stitches after an altercation with "racial overtones" outside a pub in Sussex, the paper reported.
Three years later, after leaving jail, Masood was accused of stabbing a man in the nose, leaving him needing cosmetic surgery.
He was jailed for another six months.
He has not been convicted for any terrorism offences, police confirmed.
Some of those Masood was involved with included people keen to travel to join jihadi groups overseas, a US government source said.
However, Masood "himself never did so", the source added.
Masood stayed in the Preston Park Hotel on the outskirts of Brighton on the night before the attack.
As he checked out, he reportedly told hotel staff he was "going to London", adding: "It isn't what it used to be."
Earlier, Theresa May said Masood was a "peripheral" figure who had once been investigated by MI5 over concerns about violent extremism.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd defended the security and intelligence agencies to Sky News, even though "one did get through".
She said: "The fact that he was known to them doesn't mean that somebody has 24-hour cover.
Mr Rowley said two people remain in hospital in a critical condition, one with life-threatening injuries.
Two police officers injured in the attack - which left five dead including the attacker - are also in hospital with "significant injuries".
In total nine people remain in custody, while London has twice the normal number of police officers on the streets, Mr Rowley said.
Several properties have been searched across the country, with 2,700 items seized so far.
Anyone with any information about Masood can call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline 0800 789 321.
:: Sky News will be showing a special programme - Terror In Westminster - at 7.30pm tonight

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Last photo of Westminster hero PC Palmer emerges as fourth victim named

24 March

A US tourist has revealed she posed for a photo with the police officer who tackled the Westminster terrorist less than an hour before he was killed.

The photo emerged as the fourth victim of the attack was named as 75-year-old Leslie Rhodes from Clapham, whose life-support machine was turned off on Thursday evening.
US tourist Staci Martin, who was visiting her son in London, had asked PC Palmer to pose with her for a photo as she "liked his funny hat".
Forty-five minutes after the photo was taken, the 48-year-old officer died after confronting Khalid Masood - a Muslim convert born Adrian Russell Ajao - as he attempted to gain entry to the Palace of Westminster.
PC Palmer: 'A friend to everyone'
Mrs Martin told local US news station West Palm TV she later saw pictures of the officer on television.
"They put his picture up and I said, 'I think that's the guy' and my husband and daughter thought I was crazy. We just couldn't believe it," she said.
Describing PC Palmer as "very polite" Mrs Martin shared the last known picture of the officer on her Facebook page along with a timeline of her experience of the attack.
She added that she "feels obligated" to get the picture to the officer's family.
"They can cut me out of it, but I just want to make sure they have that of him.
"It was the hat that inspired the picture, but it's the man and what happened to him next that makes it unforgettable.
"You think if I had only been there a half an hour later in that exact spot. You can call it God or fate or whatever you want to call it, it's a little bit surreal for sure".
Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been raised since a memorial fund was set up for the fallen officer's family.
Three civilians also died after Masood drove his Hyundai into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge.
They have been named as teacher Aysha Frade, who was on her way to pick up her children from school; US tourist Kurt Cochran, who was celebrating his Silver wedding anniversary; and 75-year-old Leslie Rhodes from Clapham, south London.
Mr Rhodes, who is the fourth victim to be named by police, was described by a friend as "the nicest man you ever met" and was visiting a nearby hospital when he was knocked down as he crossed Westminster Bridge.
The retired window cleaner, who suffered many broken bones, is believed to have gone into a coma straight away. The decision was taken to turn Mr Rhodes' life support machine off on Thursday evening.
Michael Carney, who knew Leslie Rhodes for around 40 years, said he sat at his bedside while he was in the coma.
"My wife and my two girls went up there and were with him until he died, playing him music. He liked Queen and that," he said.
"He had no-one. You can't have someone dying on their own."
Dozens of other people were injured, including nationals of Britain, France, Romania, South Korea, Greece, Germany, Poland, Ireland, China, Italy and the US.
On Thursday evening, Londoners came together in Trafalgar Square for a candlelit vigil to show defiance and solidarity.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan told the packed square: "Those evil and twisted individuals who tried to destroy our shared way of life will never succeed and we condemn them.
"When Londoners face adversity we always pull together. We stand up for our values and show the world we are the greatest city in the world."
:: Sky News will be showing a special programme - Terror In Westminster - at 7.30pm tonight

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Well-wishers donate £500,000 to PC Keith Palmer's family

24 March

A fundraising campaign for the family of murdered police officer Keith Palmer has surpassed £500,000 in just over 24 hours.

The 48-year-old officer died after confronting Khalid Masood - whose birth name was Adrian Russell Ajao - inside the gates of the Palace of Westminster during Wednesday's attack.
Theresa May called PC Palmer "every inch a hero".
:: What we know about Westminster terror attacker
The Metropolitan Police Federation launched an official memorial page for PC Palmer at 9.13am on Thursday after receiving a large number of requests from its members who wanted to help.
Stephen Redgewell, who set up the page, said: "A quick thank-you for all those of you that have made your generous gifts in memory of Keith.
"It is heartwarming to see the messages that have been posted and those that have chosen not to post a message, the gift alone speaks a thousand words."
:: PC's family speak of their loss
There are several alternative pages active for PC Palmer and the three civilians who were killed.
Those who knew PC Palmer have posted comments such as: "So proud to have worked with such a great guy, R.I.P Keith."
Another wrote: "Remembering Keith as a very professional officer. Thinking of his family, friends and colleagues."
A Launch Good page for all the victims has also been set up under the heading Muslims United for London.
The page, which had raised £16,000 as of midnight on Thursday, reads: "While no amount of money will bring back lives lost or take away from the pain the victims and their families are going through, we hope to lessen their burden in some way."
Muddassar Ahmed, who set up the page after witnessing Wednesday's attack from Portcullis House, said: "I happened to be trapped inside the building yesterday, and saw the carnage, and was quite moved by it, and thought to myself, 'If this is how affected I am, I can't imagine how affected the victims and their families are.'"
The 34-year-old from Stratford added: "I'm worried that the hate will divide societies further, I'm worried that hate on both sides will increase as a result. But this is precisely what extremists on all sides want to do... target places where there is co-existence."
:: How IS has changed its message online
Four people are so far confirmed to have died in the attack as well as the attacker - PC Palmer, Aysha Frade, American Kurt Cochran and 75-year-old Leslie Rhodes, whose life support was turned off a day after he was injured.
US President Donald Trump has paid tribute to Mr Cochran, who was visiting London with his wife Melissa as part of their 25th wedding anniversary celebrations.
The couple, who had been travelling in Europe, were on the last day of their trip and were due to return to the US on Thursday.
Mr Trump tweeted a tribute to 54-year-old Mr Cochran, calling him a "great American".
:: Westminster attack: How the terror unfolded
Tributes have also been paid to "wonderful" mother-of-two and "loved" teacher Mrs Frade.
The 43-year-old victim was on her way to pick up her two daughters, aged 11 and eight, from school when she was hit by Masood's car.
Mrs Frade, a language teacher, was born in Britain and had lived in London her entire life, but her mother was born in Spain, and her father was of Cypriot origin.
:: Candlelit vigil held in London
Police say 29 people have been injured, some of whom were said to have sustained "catastrophic injuries". Seven people remain in a critical condition.
Three police officers who were on their way back from a commendation ceremony were injured on the bridge. Two of them are in a serious condition.
A number of different nationalities have been injured in the attack, including 12 Britons, three French children on a school trip, two Romanians, four South Koreans, one German, one Polish national, one Irish citizen, one Chinese national, one Italian, one American and two Greeks.
:: Sky News will be showing a special programme - Terror In Westminster - at 7.30pm tonight

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Teenagers arrested over toddler death in Preston

24 March

Three teenagers have been arrested following the death of a 19-month-old girl in Preston in Lancashire.

Police were called to an address in Lostock Hall by the ambulance service shortly after 9.30am on Thursday.
The child was taken to Royal Preston Hospital but died a short time later.
Police are treating the death as suspicious and a post-mortem examination is due to be carried out.
A spokeswoman for Lancashire Police said: "Three people, a woman aged 18 and two men aged 18 and 19, from Lostock Hall have been arrested and are currently in custody.
"Inquiries are continuing."
More follows...

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Lord Heseltine says Brexit like letting Germany win Second World War

24 March

Brexit is like letting Germany win the Second World War more than seven decades after the defeat of Adolf Hitler, Lord Heseltine has claimed.

The comments by the Europhile Conservative peer, recalling the conflict and mentioning the Nazi dictator in connection with the vote to leave the EU, are likely to spark controversy.
:: Brexit 'a failure and a tragedy', says Juncker
The former deputy prime minister, who was sacked from his Government advisory roles for rebelling over Brexit, said the vote to leave the EU had "handed" Germany the chance to be the central player in Europe.
:: Your guide to Brexit jargon
He told the House magazine: "We've now abandoned the opportunity to influence Europe, the council of ministers will meet and we won't be there.
"Our ability to speak for the Commonwealth within Europe has come to an end. The Americans will shift their focus of interest to Germany.
"And if I can put it to you for some like myself, it was in 1933, the year of my birth, that Hitler was democratically-elected in Germany. He unleashed the most horrendous war. This country played a unique role in securing his defeat.
"So Germany lost the war. We've just handed them the opportunity to win the peace. I find that quite unacceptable."
:: What happens when Article 50 is triggered?
Lord Heseltine argued the decision to leave the EU "runs counter to the judgements, however you value them, of every Conservative Prime Minister I have worked for - including this one".

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