Inquest opens into Westminster terror deaths: 82 seconds of hell

BY TOBY PORTER
toby@slpmedia.co.uk

Loved ones of the five people who died in the Westminster Bridge attack 18 months ago have paid tributes at the start of the five-week inquest into their deaths.

Clapham window cleaner Leslie Rhodes and Lambeth administrator Aysha Frade were among those killed by Khalid Masood on March 22 last year when he drove his hired van indiscriminately into pedestrians.

Mr Rhodes, 73, had been waiting for a bus after an appointment at St Thomas’ Hospital. He died at King’s College Hospital, Camberwell 24 hours later without ever regaining consciousness.

Ms Frade, 44, had finished work at DLD College and was on her way to pick up her two daughters from nursery school when she was murdered – knocked into the path of an oncoming bus which was unable to stop.

Bexley resident and lifelong Charlton fan PC Keith Palmer was stabbed to death protecting the public outside the Houses of Parliament, before Masood was shot dead by plain clothes officers.

The first victim, Kurt Cochran, had been in London, on holiday from Utah, little more than three hours.

He saw the danger and pushed his wife, Melissa, out of the way and took the van’s full force. Her statement at the inquest said: “I was so lucky to have had 25 wonderful years with the man of my dreams.

My husband, my friend, my love, my mentor, my admirer, my inspiration, my rock star. I miss you with all my heart.”

The other victim was Andreea Cristea, an Hungarian tourist who was catapulted into the Thames and pulled out of the water nine minutes later but who died after two weeks on life support.

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