Witnesses have described how a “deadpan” driver ploughed through cyclists outside the Houses of Parliament in a “deliberate” attack, as police arrested a terror suspect.
Counter-terror police were leading the investigation after a Ford Fiesta crashed into “a number of” cyclists and pedestrians at around 7.40am on Tuesday before smashing into a security barrier, officers said.
Scotland Yard said the driver, a man in his 20s, was arrested at the scene by armed officers on suspicion of terrorist offences.
Kirsty Moseley, of Brixton, south London, was a passenger in the first car behind the “wall” of up to 12 cyclists hit at what she estimated was 25mph.
“I heard a few shouts, looked up and this silver car was driving at high speed the wrong way into the cyclists,” the 31-year-old told the Press Association.
“Rather than continuing, which would’ve meant driving into us, the driver veered off to my right over the central reservation.
“It’s absolutely amazing there was only one cyclist seriously injured, he went straight through them. People were thrown everywhere.”
Ms Moseley, who works in marketing and spoke to police as a witness, continued: “(He had) two hands on the steering wheel and he did not look back over his shoulder to look at the damage he’d created – he was just looking deadpan straight in front of him,” she said.
“He wasn’t shouting anything, he wasn’t screaming, he didn’t look crazed or out of control – he was just deadpan.”
Geoffrey Woodman, a strategy consultant from Battersea, south-west London, had stopped at the traffic lights by Parliament Square on his cycle to work when the car swerved into cyclists and towards the security barriers.
“I was getting off the bike and put my foot down, then there was a sound like tyres screeching,” he said.
“This car turned round to the left and swerved into the wrong lane of traffic and into the bank where all the cyclists wait.”
He said most people managed to jump off their bikes to safety but one woman who “seemed in some distress” was clipped by the bonnet of the car as it passed.
“It went through everyone and turned round, continuing down the next 50 metres before turning into the lay-by where taxis pick up politicians, smashing into the barrier,” he said.
Mr Woodman added that paramedics from a passing ambulance, captured on camera passing behind the car, stopped to help the cyclists and armed police arrived on the scene “within 10 seconds”.
Ewalina Ochab, who asked to be identified only by her name, told PA: “I think it looked intentional – the car drove at speed and towards the barriers.”
Jason Williams, 45, from Kennington, south London, was walking to work when he saw the crash and heard a “loud bang”.
“I saw a car going at high speed towards Parliament. It hit a bollard,” he told PA.
“It looked deliberate. It didn’t look like an accident. How do you do that by accident?”
Cyclist James Maker, 30, of Chelmsford, Essex, passed within minutes of the crash to see a cyclist injured on the floor and the car crashed into the barrier.
“It was a woman, they were clearly quite injured, they weren’t moving and they were in the recovery position,” the head of policy at the County Councils Network told PA.
Fellow cyclists were helping her, he said, adding: “There were a couple of cyclists who had clearly been involved who were sitting on the floor and perhaps had minor injuries.
“I must be honest, I’ve got a young son and a wife and my initial reaction was as long as paramedics were seeing to the woman I wanted to get away from the incident.”
Mr Maker then saw the silver Ford Fiesta crashed into the barrier outside Westminster Palace.
“You’ve got to have an intent to go for that barrier, there’s so many security barriers and the way the car ended up in that part it would appear deliberate to me. It’s gone up the driveway and hit the actual barrier thinking perhaps it would open,” he said.