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AFP
October 15, 2019

Westminster car attacker jailed for life

Top Story

AFP
October 15, 2019

LONDON: A London judge on Monday jailed for life a man convicted of trying to “kill as many people as possible” with his car outside the parliament last year.

Judge Maura McGowan told Salih Khater, 30, he would serve a minimum of 15 years in jail following his conviction for attempted murder in July. A jury found that Khater deliberately tried to plough his car into cyclists, pedestrians and police in Westminster in August 2018, in an attack that McGowan said aimed to imitate previous terror incidents.

“Your undoubted intention was to kill as many people as possible and by doing so spread fear and terror,” she told Old Bailey court in passing the sentence. “You replicated the acts of others who undoubtedly have acted with terrorist motives,” she added, noting Khater presented “a significant risk of causing serious harm to the public in the future”. The Sudanese-born British national did not kill anyone in the August 14 attack, which saw his car end up crashing into security barriers. Several people were injured. During his trial, the court heard that Khater—who was granted asylum in Britain in 2010 — drove around Parliament Square several times before veering off at speed to strike a jogger.

He then mowed down a group of 14 cyclists before accelerating towards two uniformed police officers standing by a security barrier outside parliament, who leapt away to avoid being hit. The jogger was left lying on the ground with abrasions and heavy bruising, while six of the cyclists received injuries including a broken collar bone and bruising.

Khater later claimed that the incident was an accident. But an accident investigator who analysed security camera footage of the incident concluded that he had deliberately manoeuvred his car in the moments leading up to the attack “with a high level of concentration”.It emerged that the resident of Birmingham in central England had unsuccessfully applied for a fast-track British passport the previous day, before driving straight to London.

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