Westminster attacker revealed to be former Sussex student

Khalid Masood attended Sussex between 1994-1997

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In an email addressed to Sussex students today, Vice Chancellor Adam Tickell revealed that the attacker on Westminster last week was in fact a former University of Sussex student. Tickell stated:

“We are now able to confirm that Adrian Russell Elms studied at the University of Sussex twenty years ago.  He undertook a Bachelor of Economics with Economic History from 1994-1997.

“We are currently helping the Metropolitan Police with its enquiries so we cannot comment any further on this.”

The attacker, born Adrian Russell Elms in Dartford, Kent, later renamed himself Khalid Masood after converting to Islam . He was raised in Tunbridge Wells and attended Huntleys Secondary School for Boys prior to studying at Sussex. Masood converted to Islam after having completed his degree in Economics with Economic History; he then moved to Saudi Arabia in 2005 to teach English before moving to Crawley in 2006.

Photo courtesy of Metropolitan police

He then returned to Saudi Arabia between 2008 and 2009 before moving to Luton, Bedfordshire and joining a TEFL college as an English teacher. Masood returned to Saudi Arabia for the third and final time for six days in March 2015 using an “Umrah” visa – Umrah being a pilgrimage to Mecca performed by Muslims that can take place at any time of the year.

The attack itself took place on the 22nd of March, starting at 14:40 after Masood drove a hired Hyundai Tucson into the south side of Westminster Bridge and Bridge Street; causing severe injuries and causing one member of the public to dive into the Thames to avoid being hit. She was later rescued by a crew member of City Cruises and was brought aboard a London Fire Brigade boat after having been knocked unconscious and severely injured. Masood continued recklessly driving the car until he hit the Palace of Westminster.

Masood was reported by Metro to have stayed in a Brighton Hotel a day before the attack in London.

In his email addressing students, Tickell also added a statement in regards to supporting those who feel affected by the attacks: “If you feel you would like to talk about this or need any support, please visit or contact the Student Life Centre.  Our chaplaincy is holding a vigil at 2pm today specifically around the events of last week as well as multi-faith meetings, as part of the usual schedule of activity in the Meeting House.”

Featured image courtesy of WJC