Westminster atrocity tore lives apart in 82 seconds, inquest hears

Khalid Masood fatally injured lies on the floor surrounded by police officers after his car and knife rampage in Westminster

Khalid Masood fatally injured lies on the floor surrounded by police officers after his car and knife rampage in Westminster

All of Romanian tourist Andreea Cristea's "dreams were shattered" when she was caught up in the Westminster terror attack, an inquest has heard.

American tourist Kurt Cochran had been on a whistlestop tour of London with his wife Melissa when they were both struck by a auto on Westminster Bridge on 22 March a year ago.

Two of those killed by Masood's rental auto, American Kurt Cochran and Romanian Andreea Cristea, were tourists visiting London with their partners. He then stabbed Palmer, who was on guard at the Palace of Westminster.

The coroner asked for a minute's silence to honour the victims at the start of the inquest.

He told the court: "The lives of many were torn apart by 82 seconds of high and awful drama".

He warned graphic and shocking footage would be shown during proceedings at the Old Bailey.

Melissa Cochran, who was reported to have been too upset to pay her tribute in person, said her husband had died trying to save her from the attacker. "I was so lucky to have had 25 wonderful years with the man of my dreams".

He said: "His courageous actions that day did not surprise me". I cherish every single memory we made.

"I am forever grateful for the time we had together, allowing me to be the mother to his children and especially his heroic actions on that day, saving my life".

She described her husband as "my inspiration, my rock star, and most of all my hero", adding: 'We wish everyone had Kurt's love and compassion for others.

She added: "No words will bring Kurt back or anyone else who has died senselessly in such cowardly attacks on humanity".

The niece of retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes told the inquest that the 75-year-old was "placid, quiet and kind".

"It was chaos. It was just chaos", Ms Smith told the hearing.

She said: "People can not understand how this despicable act of futile atrocity has impacted on not only her families' lives but also herself".

Aysha Frade's widower John told the court how he was immediately struck by her smile when they first met in 1996, describing it like the sun "popping out from behind a cloud".

Mr Frade went on: "The truth is that she still doesn't feel like she's gone, her love surrounds us, her aura lights up the paths of life's journey". 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.

Mr Frade said the couple had plans for a big white wedding in 2006, but the idea was shelved when she became pregnant with their first daughter in 2005.

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