Ex-Leighton Buzzard headteacher was once a neighbour of Westminster terrorist

Emergency personnel on Westminster Bridge, close to the Palace of Westminster, London,  Photo: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire
Emergency personnel on Westminster Bridge, close to the Palace of Westminster, London, Photo: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

A former Leighton Buzzard headteacher has revealed that she once lived in the same street as the man behind Wednesday’s Westminster terror attack.

Katie Garricques, 48, who was in charge at Greenleas Lower School when its second site was opened at Kestrel Way, Sandhills in 2013, has told the media she was “sickened” by the actions of her former neighbour Khalid Masood.

Katie Garricques at the opening of Greenleas in Kestrel Way in 2013

Katie Garricques at the opening of Greenleas in Kestrel Way in 2013

Four people died in the attack after Masood drove a rented car along Westminster Bridge, before stabbing to death a policeman in the grounds of the Palace of Westminster. Masood was then shot dead by armed officers.

A further 50 people were injured with several people remaining in hospital with critical injuries.

Masood, 52, originally from Kent, lived in a fairly large and modern semi-detached property in Dunraven Avenue, Luton, from 2010 to 2011.

And Ms Garricques, who has since moved on from Greenleas to teach at Luton’s Denbigh High School, said she noticed “nothing untoward” about him when he lived near her.

She said she remembered him driving a people carrier and as a “keen gardener” and being “house proud”.

She added: “He was frequently gardening or mowing his lawn. He was always polite. I saw nothing untoward. I’m actually shocked that I lived across the road from someone so awful. I’m proud to be from Luton and for it to be so diverse.”

She also described spotting him wearing Islamic dress at weekends and said he often wore tracksuit bottoms and slip-on moccasin shoes.

“I saw him as a dad who had two children,” she said. “I would say he was a house husband, I saw him with the children more than anything.

I am sorry that I did not know more about him whereby I could at least inform the community and do my public duty.”

In a statement given outside New Scotland Yard today Deputy Acting Commissioner, Mark Rowley, said: “I want to appeal specifically to the public.

“We remain keen to hear from anyone who knew Khalid Masood well; understands who his associates were; and can provide with information about places he has recently visited

“There might well be people out there who did have concerns about Masood but weren’t sure or didn’t feel comfortable for whatever reason in passing information to us.

“I urge anyone with such information to contact us the Anti-Terrorist hotline which is 0800 789 321.”