A British-born terrorist mowed down pedestrians like “human bowling pins” outside the UK parliament in 82 seconds of chaotic violence captured by video cameras and screened in a British court for the first time on Monday.
The graphic footage showed victims of the attack being tossed into the air like “rag dolls” and dragged along by the car, on the first day of an inquest into the attack, on March 22, 2017.
The inquest also heard tales of courage and sacrifice by those involved in the atrocity.
The footage showed a car driven by extremist Khalid Masood weaving on and off the pavement, deliberately targeting pedestrians walking across Westminster Bridge in central London.
It showed a Romanian woman being struck and thrown into the River Thames by the force of the impact. She later died in hospital.
Masood crashed the car and video captured him running towards the parliamentary estate carrying a knife in each hand. He then confronted policeman Keith Palmer and stabbed him to death.
The killer was subsequently shot dead by police.
The attack was the first of five in Britain in 2017, all but one of them linked to extremism.
The inquest will seek to answer key questions about what the authorities knew about the threat posed by Masood, the level of security at one of the UK’s most significant landmarks, and why the officer was on his own and had to confront the attacker solo.
The inquest started with a minute’s silence for the victims, and the pen portraits of the five people killed by Masood.
“The lives of many were torn apart by 82 seconds of high and terrible drama," said chief coroner Mark Lucraft.
Masood used a hire car to strike American tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes, 75, Aysha Frade, 44, and Romanian tourist Andreea Cristea, 32, on the bridge.
Some families of the victims were present at London’s Old Bailey to watch the footage and pay tribute to the victims. Melissa Cochran, who was seriously injured during the attack, praised her husband Kurt’s “heroic actions” in a statement read out by her sister Angela Stoll.
Mr Cochran pushed his wife away from the impact, taking the brunt himself, in the seconds before Masood’s car struck them.
The inquest – which is due to last six weeks – will examine the circumstances of the deaths of the victims.
A second part of the inquiry will focus on Masood, who briefly featured in security service investigations in 2009 and 2010. Experts will answer questions about security measures in place around parliament and the surrounding areas.