CONSTANTA, Romania – A Romanian tourist thrown into the Thames when an extremist plowed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, was finally buried Saturday in this Black Sea port which was her hometown.
Andreea Cristea, 31, was knocked into the river when Khalid Masood drove his rented SUV into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge on March 22. She died two weeks later. Her boyfriend, Andrei Burnaz, who was about to propose, suffered a broken foot.
Masood rushed on to the grounds of Parliament, where he fatally stabbed a policeman before being shot dead by another officer.
The Romanian couple were on a short vacation to celebrate Burnaz's birthday.
About 150 mourners carrying flickering candles gathered at the St. Mary's church wearing badges with her photo which said: "Forever in my heart!" Two heart-shaped wreaths of white roses adorned her coffin. Orthodox Archbishop Teodosie of Tomis headed a phalanx of priests who wafted incense during the service, much of which was sung.
Cristea was pulled from the Thames and later had surgery for a blood clot on the brain. She died on April 6 when life support was withdrawn.
She was the fifth victim of Masood, a 52-year-old former convict who had embraced radical Islam. Dozens more were wounded in his rampage.
Teodosie called Cristea "young, beautiful, hard-working and full of love" and that "a destiny that was about to take flight had its wings cut," alluding to the forthcoming proposal from Burnaz, an engineer who stood quietly during the service and wept occasionally.
Elder sister Magda Toi posted recently on Facebook "Beautiful, delicate, difficult, caring, hopeful, vivacious; always ready to offer surprises.... even like this!"
"I miss your smile, I miss your voice, I miss you wherever you are," Toi also wrote.
After her death, her family and Burnaz described Cristea as "our shining ray of light that will forever keep on shining in our hearts," and said they would donate all the money raised on her behalf since the attack to charity.
Also killed in the attack were Utah man Kurt Cochran, 54; Britons Leslie Rhodes, 75, and Aysha Frade, 44; and 48-year-old police officer Keith Palmer.
Police believe Masood, who had convictions for violent crimes, acted alone.