Inquests have been opened into the deaths of four people killed in the Westminster terror attack.

American tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes, 75, and Aysha Frade, 44, died after Khalid Masood drove at pedestrians on Westminster Bridge last Wednesday.

The 52-year-old then broke into the grounds of the Palace of Westminster and fatally stabbed PC Keith Palmer, 48, before being shot dead by armed police.

Aysha Frade, Keith Palmer and Kurt Cochran were killed by Khalid Masood last week.
Aysha Frade, Keith Palmer and Kurt Cochran were killed by Khalid Masood last week.

An inquest was opened at Westminster Coroner's Court on Wednesday by senior coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox.

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Opening the inquest, Wilcox told relatives of some of the victims who attended the hearing: "It is very much a first step in this inquiry in what will be a long, difficult and complex process.

"But I would like to assure you all that everything that can be done by this court will be done."

Giving evidence during the inquest's opening, Detective Superintendent John Crossley outlined how Masood drove his Hyundai over the Westminster Bridge towards the Houses of Parliament.

"The driver mounted the pavement twice in the an apparently deliberate attempt to target pedestrians, before mounting the pavement for a final time and crashing his vehicle into the east parliament gates of the Houses of Parliament."

He added: "The male then exited the vehicle carrying two large knives and ran into the vehicle entrance gateway known as Carriage Gate at the northern perimeter fence of the Houses of Parliament.

Retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes was one of the four people to die on Westminster Bridge. Photo / Metropolitan Police
Retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes was one of the four people to die on Westminster Bridge. Photo / Metropolitan Police

Masood then stabbed a police officer, killing him, Crossley said, and was himself shot and killed by other officers.

Crossley told the court more than 35 people were hurt, with injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to "extensive bone fractures".

He said: "Two people in addition to the police officer and the attacker died at the scene; one other person was taken to hospital from the scene and died from his injuries."

Crossley confirmed that one of those injured remains in a coma in hospital.

The attack lasted 82 seconds, and Crossley said CCTV footage provided a "clear visual chronology"of the events.

He confirmed that the attacker had been formally identified as Khalid Masood, 52, from Birmingham.

The inquest heard details of how each of victim died. Cochran died on Westminster Bridge from multiple injuries after being hit by the car, and Frade suffered head and chest injuries, also dying on the bridge.

Rhodes was pronounced dead at London's King's College the following day from a head injury, and Palmer died at the scene after being stabbed in the chest.

Crossley said the "wide-ranging inquiry" was being led by the counter-terrorism command, which was looking at a "number of strands of investigation".

Officers are also examining a "large amount" of CCTV and footage taken by bystanders.

"There are in excess of 1500 potential witnesses, with accounts being taken from those who are deemed significant. This is currently in excess of 140."

Wilcox adjourned the inquest while police continue their investigations, and ordered that a pre-inquest review be provisionally held on May 19 at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Wilcox told the families she wished them well and asked them to pass on her condolences to those who were unable to attend the hearing.