Tuesday, 11 September 2018
Widow of US tourist killed in Westminster attack tells inquest how jihadi's car ploughed into them

On the anniversary of the massive terrorist attack on New York and Washington in 2001 the inquest into the lone wolf/small cell attack in London last year continues. 

The wife of an American tourist killed in the Westminster terror attack has told how she was knocked unconscious as her husband was flung into the air when a terrorist drove straight into them. Melissa Cochran and her husband Kurt were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary in London when Muslim convert Khalid Masood ploughed into them on Westminster Bridge. Mr Cochran, 54, spotted Masood's Hyundai Tucson as it mounted the pavement and tried to shield his wife in a desperate attempt to save her. His actions meant he took the full force of the impact from the car, saving her life, but he was catapulted headfirst over a wall to his death.

Inquests are now being held into his death and those of four other victims of the attack in March last year.

Mrs Cochran told the inquest at the Old Bailey: 'We had almost come to the end [of the bridge]. We were going to go down the steps to the right and sit on a bench on the Thames. I recall putting my phone in my purse, I walked to what I recall was the end of the bridge and looked to my right. I remember hearing an engine revving... I remember seeing the front of the vehicle. The next thing I remember, being on the ground. It was very sudden.' 

Gareth Patterson QC, a lawyer for three of the victims, asked her: 'Kurt's right arm went out. Do you remember when he reached across and then pushed you out of the way?'

Mrs Cochran said she had no memory of it, but added that it was the kind of thing her husband would do. 

The couple had been visiting London from the US as part of a tour of Europe. On the day of the attack, they had visited a number of tourist attractions, ending up at Westminster Abbey. 

In the space of 82 seconds, Mahmood knocked down Mr Cochran, Leslie Rhodes, 75, Aysha Frade, 44, and Andreea Cristea, 31, before stabbing policeman Keith Palmer to death at the gates to the Palace of Westminster. 

Eyewitness Kylie Smith, a teacher who was accompanying a group of teenage schoolchildren on a trip to London that day, said Masood had deliberately targeted Mr Cochran as he stood by a souvenir stand on the bridge. 'It was very clearly a deliberate act. The way he turned the car to change the direction,' she told the inquest.

Mr Cochran, a musician from Utah, fell 17ft onto a concrete walkway alongside the River Thames and died minutes later from severe injuries to his head and body. 

Specialist nurse Tanya Henshaw told of the attempts by medics to save Mr Cochran as he lay on the ground near steps leading up to the bridge. She said: 'We carried on as long as we could. At one point his heart stopped completely. There was an agreement between me, the ambulance man and doctor that his life was no longer present.' At 3pm, Mr Cochran was pronounced dead and Mr Richards (a paramedic)  was instructed to move on and treat more casualties. He said he remembered the exact time as Big Ben was chiming. 

Mrs Cochran received a glancing blow from the car and was sent hurtling into a stand selling postcards and other souvenirs. She suffered serious injuries but survived.

Read it all. Five lives. Three Thousand lives. 

Posted on 09/11/2018 8:05 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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