Widow of American killed in London terror attack feels 'sorry' for husband's killer

Image: Second-placed series of images of World Press Photo 2018 contest for
A passerby attends to Melissa Cochran after the March 22, 2017, attack on Westminster Bridge in London. Copyright Toby Melville
Copyright Toby Melville
By Saphora Smith with NBC News World News
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Kurt Cochran, a musician, has been hailed as a hero during the inquest into the attack.


LONDON — The widow of an American who was one of four pedestrians killed last year when an SUV plowed into a crowd on Westminster Bridge outside Parliament has said she does not hate her husband's killer.

Melissa Cochran, from West Bountiful, Utah, said that instead she felt sorry for the perpetrator of the terror attack, Khalid Masood, who killed her husband, Kurt, and three other pedestrians on March 22, 2017.

Kurt and Melissa Cochran pose for a picture.
Kurt and Melissa Cochran pose for a picture. Family photo

Masood, 52, also fatally stabbed an unarmed police officer after he jumped out of the rented SUV. Authorities eventually shot Masood and apprehended him.

The attacker "just didn't have the compassion for humans that Kurt did, and for that I feel sorry for him, I feel sorry for his family," Cochran said in an interview with U.K. broadcasters. "If we could all find a little connection with each other, maybe some of this hate would go away."

Kurt Cochran, a musician, has been hailed as a hero during the inquest into the attack.

Pictures from closed-circuit TV footage played at the inquiry, which began on Sept. 10 and ended Wednesday, showed Cochran pushing his wife out of the way of the oncoming vehicle.

The Cochrans, who have two adult sons, were in Europe to celebrate their 25th anniversary and had arrived in London on the day of the attack.

The inquiry also heard how Masood converted to Islam while serving a year in jail after a bar brawl at the age of 35.

Dan Brown, a Scotland Yard counterterrorism detective, told the inquest how the attacker's children had previously told authorities that their father "thought he was going to die fighting for God."

The panel heard how Masood had a grudge against President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May.


In the interview, Cochran described her husband as "compassionate" and "kind," and said his behavior on the day he died was not surprising.

"Kurt would have done that for anyone," she said. "Kurt was just that kind of guy."

The Parliament attack was the first in a series of terror attacks on British soil in 2017, during which dozens were killed. A concert hall in Manchester was bombed in May, and there were attacks the following month on London Bridge and a north London mosque.

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