Terrorist who to tried to kill cyclists and police outside Parliament jailed
A copycat terrorist who tried to “kill as many people as possible” when he ploughed into cyclists and police officers outside the Houses of Parliament has been jailed for life.
Salih Khater, 30, drove his Ford Fiesta into a pedestrian and riders who had stopped at a red light in Parliament Square on August 14 last year.
He then careered into a security lane and crashed into barriers as two police officers jumped out of the way.
The attack was caught on CCTV footage which was played in court. The Old Bailey heard Khater, of Highgate Street, Birmingham, wanted to cause maximum carnage and it was “miraculous” that no-one was killed.
Alison Morgan QC had told jurors Khater’s attack was “premeditated and deliberate” and had a terrorist motive, although the details were unclear.
Khater claimed he came to London to find the Sudanese embassy to get a visa but “got lost” around Westminster and panicked.
A jury rejected his explanation for the crash and found him guilty of two charges of attempted murder in July.
In mitigation, Peter Carter QC told the court Khater remained an “enigma” and he had still not offered an explanation for what he did.
He told the judge: “Had there been any evidence of any link between this man and a terrorist organisation or terrorist individual or had there been any connection that he had expressed any interest in or showed any desire to pursue any link to terrorism it would have been before your ladyship. There is not. The lack of evidence is not a proper basis for drawing a conclusion there is evidence of a terrorist connection.”
But Mrs Justice McGowan found Khater had deliberately copied other terrorists as she jailed him on Monday for life with a minimum term of 15 years.
She said: “Your undoubted intention was to kill as many people as possible and by doing so spread fear and terror.”