He Tried 'to Kill as Many People as Possible.' Now, His Fate

Salih Khater gets life in prison after plowing his car into crowd outside UK Parliament, injuring 3
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 14, 2019 10:35 AM CDT
He Tried 'to Kill as Many People as Possible.' Now, His Fate
In this Aug. 14, 2018, file photo, forensic officers carry away bags from the car that crashed into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament in London.   (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

A man who deliberately drove his car into several people outside Britain's Parliament in a bid "to kill as many people as possible" was sentenced Monday to life imprisonment for attempted murder. During a hearing at London's Central Criminal Court, Judge Maura McGowan said Salih Khater must serve a minimum of 15 years for the August 2018 attack that injured three people, per the AP. "Even acting alone, you acted for a terrorist purpose," McGowan said. "All the evidence is consistent with that conclusion." Khater, 30, was convicted in July of driving his car into people outside Parliament before colliding with a security barrier guarded by police. While Khater wasn't convicted of a terrorist offense, the judge said his "undoubted intention was to kill as many people as possible and by doing so spread fear and terror."

McGowan called it "an attack on strangers and police officers at the seat of democracy in this country." The incident came a year after London was hit by several deadly vehicle attacks, including one outside Parliament. Khater, a British citizen originally from Sudan, claimed he drove to London to apply for a visa at the Sudanese Embassy but "got lost" around Westminster and panicked. His defense lawyer told the court Khater was an "enigma" and hadn't explained his actions, but he added there was no evidence Khater had links to terrorism. London police said the sentence and judge's comments underscored their view that terrorism was the motive. "It was our view that this attack was carried out with a terrorist purpose, and the sentence confirms this," said Richard Smith, the Metropolitan Police's counterterror chief.

(More sentencing stories.)

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