A man who drove his car into people outside the British Parliament last year, injuring several, has received a life sentence. A judge found that the driver had a "terrorist purpose."
A British man was sentenced to life in prison on Monday for a car ramming attack outside Britain's Parliament in August last year in which three people were injured.
Although Salih Khater, 30, was not convicted of a terrorist offense but of attempted murder, the judge at London's Central Criminal Court, Maura McGowan, said his "undoubted intention was to kill as many people as possible and by doing so spread fear and terror."
Khater, who originally comes from Sudan, had claimed at a July trial that he had driven to London from Birmingham to apply for a visa at the Sudanese Embassy but lost his way in Westminster, where the parliament building is situated, and panicked.
'An extremely dangerous individual'
According to police, Khater circled Parliament Square four times to reconnoiter the area before veering onto the wrong side of the road, hitting a jogger and accelerating into a group of 14 cyclists at a crossing. He then drove at two police officers, who jumped out of the way, and ended up crashing into barriers, where he was quickly arrested.
Khater's life sentence comes with a minimum of 15 years.
The head of the London Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command, Richard Smith, said he was pleased at the sentence and that "an extremely dangerous individual would be behind bars for a considerable time."
The incident came a year after the British capital was hit by several deadly attacks involving vehicles, including one near Parliament.
In March 2017, Khalid Masood, who also lived in Birmingham, plowed his car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before crashing into barriers outside Parliament and stabbing a police officer to death. Five people were killed and more than 50 wounded in the attack. Masood was shot dead at the scene.
tj/msh (Reuters, AP)