Liverpool student hit by terrorist’s car opens up about Westminster terror attack
His friends all survived
The five of them were walking along Westminster Bridge when 52-year-old British-born terrorist Khalid Masood drove a Hyundai 4×4 straight at them.
The tutor and the other students were still inside Westminster when the building went into lockdown after Masood’s attack and remained there for several hours afterwards.
“We’d been at Parliament and had an hour’s free time so we decided to go for a wander. We were walking on the pavement along Westminster Bridge. I’m small and as I was behind my friends I didn’t see the car until the last second. The next thing, it was like a flash. I remember being hit. I saw blood on Travis’ neck and I said to him ‘You’re bleeding’.” said Owen.
“But then he gestured to my head. I put my hand to my head and it was just red with blood. I realised it was my blood on Travis.
“It all happened so fast. I assume I was hit by the wing mirror.”
As pedestrians went over to help those hit by the car, Masood drove the hired car into the gates of parliament. He got into the Westminster grounds and stabbed a policeman before he was shot dead by officers.
Three pedestrians who were on Westminster Bridge died of their injuries, but Owen and his friends all survived.
“I saw a police officer with an assault rifle – he shouted ‘Shots fired!’ and then ran towards Westminster.
“Combined with the fact that the car didn’t stop, it was on the pavement and I saw a policeman with a gun, I knew then it was much bigger than just an accident. It was chaos.”
A woman called Alice helped Owen out.
“She came over to make sure we were all right, she put her hand on my shoulder and said everything is going to be fine. There were people crowding around us. A guy called Dean asked if I was all right too.
“Travis was sitting across from me clutching his arm, lying with his legs out. I asked my friend Harmen Van Arragon to get some tissues out of my bag to stem the blood but he was shaking and said he couldn’t move his hand.”
Owen had his head bandaged by a policeman as paramedics helped Travis and Harmen. At this point, Owen had no idea where is other two friends were.
“I heard somebody saying that people had gone over the bridge into the water, so at that point I thought my two other friends were dead.”
After around 15 minutes, Owen and Harmen were escorted to a nearby hotel by police. It was during this walk that the now-famous picture of Owen was photographed.
Owen waited in a function room in the Marriott hotel while he and a group of others were checked over. A junior paramedic named Emma was with him for the duration.
“She removed my police bandage, cleaned the wound as best as she could and applied a great big gauze plaster on my forehead. She made sure that my reflexes were OK, did a few tests to check the strength of my legs and my arms. She was trying to help everybody else and was lovely. But she was visibly shaken herself. All the hotel guests looked shocked too.”
Owen was then transferred to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital by ambulance where he was taken to casualty.
“I was with a few other people; two police officers, Harmen, a man called Francisco and a lady from South Korea and two men who were with her helping to translate. They removed my plaster, they cleaned me up a bit more and they took my blood pressure.
“At first I’d been told I might need stitches but in the end they just glued my head back together.”
As well as the 2.5cm long cut in the middle of his forehead, Owen also had some bruises and a cut to his left thigh from where he fell, and a small gash on his right cheek.
“They did an X-ray on my leg, I then got a CT scan on my head and finally they did an ultra-sound on my leg. Thankfully all the tests proved that I had no internal injuries. The staff were incredibly upbeat, helpful and lovely caring people.
“I was just trying to keep my spirits up. I wasn’t in any pain at the time. The police were guarding my room which helped me feel safe.”
Owen was discharged from hospital before midnight after an interview with police.
Owen, who had injured his leg and Harmen, whose arm was in a cast, were taken in an ambulance back to the hostel in Kings Cross they were staying at. They were met by the other members of their politics group and were pleased to know their two other friends were safe.
“I was utterly utterly relieved,” said Owen. I went back upstairs to my room and sent a Facebook post to say I was OK.”
Owen went back to Edge Hill on Thursday morning.
“The staff at Edge Hill were very understanding, compassionate and helpful. They offered us counselling and support, and free food! We spoke to the vice-chancellor John Cater and I gave a statement to the counter-terrorism officer from Lancashire police.”
Owen then travelled home to Morecambe on Thursday.
Travis, from Lancashire, is in King’s College Hospital in London and and met Prince Charles on Friday when he visited victims of the attack.
A teenager mowed down in the London Westminster terror attack has shared a photo of his meeting with Prince Charles, who was visiting victims and medical staff at King's College Hospital. Travis Frain, a 19-year-old Edge Hill University politics student from Lancashire, went over the bonnet of the killer's car on Westminster Bridge. #Westminster #London #HousesofParliament #Lancashire #royal #princecharles #lancashire
“I was very worried about him,” said Owen.
“He was the worst injured out of all of us. But we have messaged each other regularly and I’m looking forward to seeing him. We were all incredibly lucky to come out of it alive and in one piece.”
Owen was told the scar on his forehead is permanent, and he’s still walking with a limp and struggling to move his head, neck and shoulders without pain due to the whiplash impact of the car.
He’s never going to forget what happened to him on Wednesday, but he’s said that the unfortunate event won’t stop him pursing a career in politics.
“I want to make the world a better and gentler place,” he said.
“What happened on Wednesday has made me realise that you have to treat everyone with kindness, tolerance and understanding. That’s because of the overwhelming support I received from the emergency services and everybody who I came into contact with.
“I particularly want to thank Alice, who was with me just after the attack, Emma the junior paramedic who despite her group leaving the scene stayed with some of the walking wounded for hours, and I especially want to thank the two police constables, Ash Rashid and Constable Simmonds, who stayed with me for over nine hours.
“They were professional, helpful, really informative, kept me up to date with what was going on, and they had been up since 7.30am and had 12 hour shifts the next day. They deserve medals.”
We wish Owen and his friends all the best for their recovery.