LONDON – An inquest into the death of five people in an extremist attack last year on the British parliament has heard that the attacker had a history of violence and heavy drinking and had told his children he planned to die fighting for God.
Khalid Masood killed four people on Westminster Bridge in a rented vehicle and then fatally stabbed a police officer guarding Parliament on March 22, 2017. Dozens more were injured as well. The 52-year-old was shot and killed by police.
On Wednesday, the eighth day of the inquest into the death of five victims, detective chief inspector Dan Brown said Masood was caught shoplifting at 14 and that a string of violent incidents followed.
Born in England on December 25 1964, with the name Adrian Russell Elms, he grew up with his mother Janet Ajao, his stepfather and two stepbrothers.
Brown said Masood's mother described him as an angry person who worried "he would kill someone through fighting."
In one case, in September 2002, he hit a man over the head with a glass in a pub and cut another man's face with a knife. The next year he beat another man with a baton so badly the victim was left with a dislocated shoulder, broken collarbone and extensive bruising. Also in 2003, he was charged with attempted murder for stabbing a man in the face but was acquitted on most charges on grounds of self-defense.
In 2005, he began teaching English in Saudi Arabia, and after returning to the U.K, he would meet with a man who wore an electronic tag for terror offenses, according to his wife.
In the weeks ahead of the attack, he told his children during video calls "that he was going to die fighting for God," Brown said.
The Parliament attack was the first in a series of major extremist attacks on British soil in 2017, during which dozens were killed. It was followed by the May bombing of a concert hall in Manchester, a June attack on London Bridge and Borough Market and an attack in the same month on a mosque in Finsbury Park.