Westminster car crash: Man arrested on suspicion of terror offences

A man has been arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences after a car crashed outside the Houses of Parliament.

The vehicle swerved into cyclists and pedestrians shortly after 07:30 BST, injuring three people.

The 29-year-old suspect is not believed to be known to MI5 or counter-terrorism police, and is not co-operating with officers. Searches are taking place in Birmingham and Nottingham.

Two people were treated in hospital for their injuries but discharged.

Scotland Yard's head of counter terrorism Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said: "Given that this appears to be a deliberate act, the method and this being an iconic site, we are treating it as a terrorist incident."

He added there was "no intelligence at this time of further danger" to London or the UK as a whole.

No-one else was in the car and no weapons have been found.

The government held a meeting of its Cobra emergency committee and the prime minister has paid tribute to the "formidable courage" and professionalism of the emergency services who "ran towards a dangerous situation in order to protect the public".

Urging the public to remain vigilant but "carry on as normal", Theresa May added: "For the second time in as many years the home of our democracy, which is a potent symbol of our precious values of tolerance and freedom, has witnessed terrible scenes just yards from its door."

The suspect, who has not been formally identified, is being held at a south London police station and the vehicle is being searched.

Sources say he is from the Birmingham area.

Security Minister Ben Wallace told the BBC the suspect was British but originally from another country.

A number of eyewitnesses have said the silver Ford Fiesta, which was travelling westbound in Parliament Square, appeared to deliberately hit members of the public as it swerved into the opposite lane.

 The suspect, on the right of the image, can be seen being taken away by police

The suspect, on the right of the image, can be seen being taken away by police

Footage released by the BBC shows the moment when the car then crosses over a traffic island in the middle of the road before crashing into the security barriers. A police officer can be seen jumping over another barrier to get out of the way.

Police have released more details about the car's movements before the crash:

  • The car travelled from Birmingham to London on Monday night, arriving in the capital just after midnight
  • The vehicle was in the Tottenham Court Road area from approximately 01:25 BST until 05:55. It was then driven around the Westminster and Whitehall area from approximately 06:00 until the incident

Westminster Tube station was closed for entry and exit, and streets around Millbank and Parliament Square cordoned off for several hours after the crash.

The immediate area around the incident remains taped off and screened by white temporary fencing.

Parliament is not currently sitting.


Source: BBC News