The widow of a man who was killed last year when an SUV plowed into pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge recalled hearing her husband saved her life and said she only pitied the attacker.
Melissa Cochran told the BBC on Wednesday she remembered hearing “an engine revving” and looking over to see “the hood of this car.” Cochran was with her husband, Kurt, in London celebrating their 25th anniversary on March 22, 2017 when Khalid Masood, 52, drove his SUV into a crowd on Westminster Bridge outside Parliament. They lived in the city for less than three hours.
Cochran was told by bystanders and officials later that her 54-year-old husband died saving her life.
“They told me that he pushed me out of the way of the path of the car and basically sacrificed his life for mine,” Cochran said. “It isn’t surprising, to be honest. Kurt would have done that for anyone, honestly. The fact that it was me standing next to him, if it had been you or a complete stranger Kurt was just that kind of guy.”
“He was selfless and just super kind, he was compassionate and loved people, which is obviously one of the reasons I loved him so much. He taught me a lot,” she added.
Three other people — Leslie Rhodes, 75, Aysha Frade, 44, and Andreea Cristea, 31 — were killed in the terror attack. Masood fatally stabbed police constable Keith Palmer outside the gates of the Palace of Westminster before he was shot and killed by police.
Cochran suffered a broken leg, ribs and back, along with lacerations to her head and thigh.
Melissa Cochran was seriously injured in the attack and spent more than three weeks in a U.K. hospital. (AP, File)
Looking back, though, Cochran admitted she felt sorry for Masood.
“Obviously he changed my life forever and many people that day, including his own family. But I still stand where I don’t hate him,” Cochran told the BBC while holding back tears. “I don’t know where he was coming from so I can’t say that I even understand him.”
“He 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, sorry for people that feel that way, that think that way,” she continued.
Cochran was grateful to have survived the attack.
“From day one, from the beginning, from the time I opened my eyes I was grateful to be alive,” she said. “Obviously, I am super sad that Kurt is not here and it’s really hard without him but never once have I not wanted to be here without him, knowing that he saved me, sure makes me want to make him proud and recover the best I can and do what the best I can for my family and myself.”
The Parliament attack was the first in a series of major extremist attacks on British soil in 2017, during which dozens were killed. It was followed by the May bombing of a concert hall in Manchester, a June attack on London Bridge and Borough Market and an attack in the same month on a mosque in Finsbury Park.
Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report.