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London attacks have left me numb and in shock, says terrorist's mum

By PA Reporters

The mother of Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood has said she is "deeply shocked, saddened and numbed" by the actions of her son.

Janet Ajao said she did not condone the attack or the beliefs which had led Masood to commit the "atrocity".

In a statement released through the Metropolitan Police, she said: "I am so deeply shocked, saddened and numbed by the actions my son has taken that have killed and injured innocent people in Westminster.

"Since discovering that it was my son that was responsible I have shed many tears for the people caught up in this horrendous incident.

"I wish to make it absolutely clear, so there can be no doubt, I do not condone his actions nor support the beliefs he held that led to him committing this atrocity.

"I wish to thank my friends, family and community from the bottom of my heart for the love and support given to us."

Muslim convert Masood killed four people in an 82-second rampage in Westminster on Wednesday.

He was shot dead by armed police after fatally knifing PC Keith Palmer in the Palace of Westminster's cobbled forecourt.

Scotland Yard said it had found "no evidence" Masood was linked to Islamic State or al Qaida but said he "clearly" had an interest in jihad.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack and called Masood "a soldier of the Islamic State".

But the announcement was greeted with scepticism by commentators who noted the terror group has a record of opportunistically claiming attacks.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the senior national coordinator for UK counter-terrorism policing, said: "His attack method appears to be based on low sophistication, low tech, low cost techniques copied from other attacks, and echo the rhetoric of IS (Islamic State) leaders in terms of methodology and attacking police and civilians, but at this stage I have no evidence he discussed this with others.

"There is no evidence that Masood was radicalised in prison in 2003, as has been suggested; this is pure speculation at this time.

"Whilst I have found no evidence of an association with IS or AQ (al Qaida), there is clearly an interest in jihad."

Masood was born as Adrian Russell Elms in Dartford on Christmas Day 1964.

His mother Janet Elms is believed to have married Phillip Ajao in 1966 and the killer used Adrian Russell Ajao as one of his many identities over the years.

He changed his name to Khalid Masood in 2005, Scotland Yard said. Reports have claimed that Masood's phone connected with encrypted messaging app WhatsApp just before the atrocity, sparking debate over authorities' capacity to intercept suspects' communications.

WhatsApp has said it is "co-operating with law enforcement as they continue their investigations."

Earlier, the family of an American tourist who was killed in the attack said they bear no ill-will over the incident.

Kurt and Melissa Cochran, who are from Utah, were on the final day of a trip to London to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary when they were mown down on Westminster Bridge by a car that was driven by Masood.

Mr Cochran (54) was killed and his 46-year-old wife was hospitalised with a broken leg, rib and cut head.

Speaking at Scotland Yard, Mrs Cochran's sister-in-law Shantell Payne said it was "awful, horrible, (and) gut-wrenching" that the attack was carried out in the name of religion. Sara McFarland, Mrs Cochran's sister, said: "Last night we were speaking as a family about this and it was deeply unanimous that none of us harbour any ill-will or harsh feelings towards this."

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