The inquests into the deaths of those killed during the Westminster terror attack in March of last year will open today, seeking to establish the facts surrounding the attack in which Khalid Masood drove a car through crowds on Westminster Bridge before making his way through a Parliament gate where he stabbed PC Keith Palmer to death.
Four civilians, Andreea Cristea, 31, Leslie Rhodes, 75, Kurt Cochran, 54, and Aysha Frade, 44, died when they were hit by Masood’s car on Westminster Bridge.
Masood was shot dead by the then Defence Secretary Michael Fallon’s personal bodyguard.
The hearings will commence at 10.30am in Court 1 at the Old Bailey in London before Judge Mark Lucraft QC. The hearing is expected to last for 5-6 weeks.
From 11 September onwards the hearings will commence at 10.15am. Those that died were:
Romanian tourist Andreea Cristea, 31, was on Westminster Bridge with her partner Andrei Burnaz when the car driven by Khalid Masood ploughed into them.
Cristea was thrown into the River Thames and subsequently suffered a blood clot on the brain for which she was operated on. She received hospital treatment and life support, which was withdrawn around two weeks after. She was buried in Romania in May.
According to reports, the couple were in London celebrating Burnaz’s birthday, and he was due to propose to Cristea later that day.
Leslie Rhodes, 75, from Clapham, south London, died at King’s College Hospital on the night after the attack after life support was withdrawn.
Friends and family described the retired window cleaner – said to have once cleaned Sir Winston Churchill’s windows – as a “gentleman” with a love of music and cricket.
Rhodes had been attending a hospital appointment when he was caught up in the atrocity on Westminster Bridge.
Speaking of the attack, his sister-in-law Carol Carney, 72, said: “He was only going to the hospital to have his eyes seen to and that was it, the end of his life.”
“Les was always at my house helping me with the children, buying them treats.”
At his funeral, Nigel Desborough of Forest Hill Community Church spoke on behalf of the family, calling Rhodes a “shy but extremely kind” man who “would do anything for anyone”.
Kurt Cochran, a US tourist from Utah, was killed on Westminster Bridge after Masood drove his car into unsuspecting pedestrians.
He and his wife Melissa, on the last day of a trip celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, were visiting her parents, who are serving as Mormon missionaries in London.
Cochran was badly injured, and ahead of the anniversary of the attack said: “While I continue to grieve my husband Kurt and all the victims of that day, I strive to move ahead and focus on my recovery as well as honouring Kurt’s life by advocating love, forgiveness and peace.”
The couple have two sons aged in their 20s.
Aysha Frade, who worked in administration at independent sixth-form school DLD College London in Westminster, also died on the bridge.
The 44-year-old was described by her family as a “caring daughter, loving sister, amazing wife, irreplaceable aunt, thoughtful, supportive friend and the best and coolest of mummies”.
She was “our guardian angel who never shied away from facing up to bullies”, they said in a statement released through the Metropolitan Police.
Frade’s family is well known in Betanzos, Spain, where her older sisters, Silvia and Michelle, run the Notting Hill English language academy.
PC KEITH PALMER
PC Keith Palmer, a 48-year-old husband and father and Charlton Athletic season ticket-holder, was stabbed to death in the attack.
He was praised as a “strong, professional public servant” who served in the military before joining the Metropolitan Police’s parliamentary and diplomatic protection command.
PC Palmer served as a reservist from August 1987 to August 2001, leaving as a bombardier, and had 15 years of service as a police officer.
Around 50 members of Palmer’s family, including his wife, child, mother and father, and brother and sisters, attended his funeral service at Southwark Cathedral, central London, along with Home Secretary Amber Rudd, mayor of London Sadiq Khan and the then manager and captain of his beloved Charlton Athletic FC, Karl Robinson and Johnnie Jackson.
As many as 5,000 officers from the Metropolitan Police and other forces, including a delegation from the New York Police Department, joined the service or lined the cortege route as members of the public looked on.
At the service, he was described as a “hero” whose “blue lamp will shine forever”.