By Pa Kemo Jarju, UK
A Gambian woman who was married to a jihadist who killed several people during an attack outside the British House of Commons in London, has apologised to the families of her husband’s victims.
Rohey Hydara broke down in tears and said she still could not believe that she was married to someone so evil. She said she was sorry she had not been “more vigilant” before her husband, Khalid Masood, 52, killed four pedestrians and a policeman in a car and knife rampage in March 2017.
He was shot dead by police after stabbing PC Keith Palmer, 48, to death and using his rented 4×4 to deliberately run over Kurt Cochran, 54, Leslie Rhodes, 75, Aysha Frade, 44, and Andreea Cristea, 31, on Westminster Bridge.
Giving evidence at the inquest into her husband’s victims at the Old Bailey’s Court in London, Ms Hydara who was refused anonymity by a coroner at the inquest, insisted she had no idea what her husband was planning, describing it as an act of “evil”.
She said: “I would like to speak to the victims and families. I’m sorry that I was not more vigilant. He made me trust him and I had no reason to doubt him. I know it’s hard. It is for me every day. I cannot imagine what you guys are going through. I hope my being here today will give you answers you seek. I cannot believe I was married to someone that evil. I hope that you find closure at the end of all this and you move on and do not let him win.”
Ms Hydara who was arrested and later released by police shortly after the incident told the inquest that he spoke to her on the night before the attack on FaceTime. She said during the conversation her husband appeared “emotional” with a red face.
She added that although he told her it was a rash, she thought it was because he was upset about his stepfather being ill.
Ms Hydara revealed in the morning of 22 March 2017, her husband her and the children a text message saying: “I hope you guys are all okay I have been thinking about you lots, love daddy.”
She added that he later sent another text of an emoji blowing a kiss.
After about 2.30pm, just before the attack, he sent the family another text containing a “Jihadi” document with his picture on it.
Ms Hydara said she thought it was “strange” and texted him back asking to speak urgently. But he never replied. And a few minutes later, she saw on the television screen reports of a terror attack in London and pictures of her husband lying down in a pool of blood.
On seeing pictures of her husband lying injured after the attack, she phoned police saying: “I think my husband is involved in what’s happened at Westminster.”
Ms Hydara, who married Masood shortly after meeting him in 2006, said her husband was more religious than her, more strict in eating halal food and had tried to make her wear Islamic clothes.
She told the inquest Masood visited the gym every week and was “very, very serious” about his training.
The Old Bailey heard Masood started taking steroids when he and his wife and their two children moved to Luton in 2009.
Ms Hydara said he was “very, very short tempered” and threatened her with divorce twice – once when she refused to stop wearing trousers and again when she asked him not to take steroids.
“He would get very bad when he was on steroids,” she said.
“If you would look at him in a certain way he would talk about it for an hour. He was angry. I would always back down.”