Police have released a statement revealing the identity of the London terror attacker who is responsible for the deaths of three people.
The individual has been identified as Khalid Masood, 52, from Kent and was known to police for a range of previous convictions including GBH, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences.
Masood was first convicted in November 1983 for criminal damage and his last offence was in December 2003 for possession of a knife.
However, none of the offences have been terror related.
Earlier today, Theresa May made a statement to Parliament, saying:
A terrorist came to the place where people of all nationalities and culture gather to celebrate what it means to be free. He took out his rage indiscriminately on men, women and children.
This was an attack on free people everywhere and on behalf of the British people I would like to thank our friends and allies around the world who have made it clear they stand with us.
She also divulged information about the perpetrator, saying:
When operational considerations allow he will be publicly identified.
What I can confirm is the man was British born and that some years ago he was once investigated by MI5 in relation to concerns about violent extremism.
He was a peripheral figure. The case is historic. He is not part of the current intelligence picture.
Our working assumption is that the attacker was inspired by Islamist ideology. We know the threat from Islamist terrorism is very real.
But while the public should remain utterly vigilant they should not and will not be cowed by this threat.
May concluded by reassuring the public of their safety, announcing:
We are stepping up policing to reassure the public and as a precautionary measure it will mean increasing patrols in cities across the country, with more police and more armed police on the streets.
The attack was carried out by Masood yesterday afternoon at 2.42pm. He drove a Hyundai 4×4 – which he rented from a Birmingham Enterprise branch – over Westminster bridge, ploughing into civilians and injuring at least 40 people, many of whom were treated on site or airlifted to London hospitals.
Masood exited the vehicle after crashing into the gates of the palace of Westminster and stabbed 48-year-old PC Keith Palmer, who later died from his wounds.
Masood was shot dead by police at the scene, bringing an end to his short unforgivably destructive rampage of terror.
Britain is currently on high terror alert – labelled ‘severe’. The police reportedly responded to the attack within six minutes.
Meanwhile, a candlelit vigil will be held in remembrance of the fallen at 6pm in Trafalgar Square tonight.
London Mayor, Sadiq Khan urges the public to join Londoners and ‘stand together against this attack on our democracy and our city.’