A Romanian architect killed in the Westminster terror attack died from multiple organ failure after being “knocked” into the River Thames, an inquest has heard.
Andreea Cristea, who was visiting London with her boyfriend, Andrei Burnaz (both pictured), was thrown into the water from Westminster Bridge as Khalid Masood drove across it at speed on March 22.
She was pulled out and taken to the Royal London Hospital and then St Bartholomew’s but died 15 days after the killer’s rampage to the Houses of Parliament, the inquest was told.
She became the fifth victim of Masood, who was later shot dead by armed police after murdering PC Keith Palmer inside the grounds of the Palace of Westminster.
Detective Superintendent John Crossley, from Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command, told Wednesday’s opening hearing at Westminster Coroner’s Court that Cristea had suffered “extensive brain injuries”.
He added: “During the attack she was knocked into the River Thames and was taken to the Royal London Hospital by ambulance.
“She was then taken to St Bartholomew’s Hospital. Her time of death was recorded as 3.11pm on April 6.”
Coroner’s officer Eric Sword told the inquest a post-mortem examination had given her main cause of death as “multiple organ failure” with a secondary cause given as “head injury … and immersion”.
Burnaz, who, like Cristea, is reportedly from the Black Sea port city of Constanta, was also hospitalised after the episode, in his case with a broken foot, but he was discharged.
Both families said in a statement that they were convulsed with grief. Cristea, they said, was “cruelly and brutally ripped away from our lives in the most heartless and spiritless way.”
“There are no words to even begin to describe the crushing pain and emptiness that is left in our hearts,” they said, adding that unused money that had been raised to finance her recovery would be donated to charity.
London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, extended his condolences to the family. “Deeply saddened to hear of the death of Andreea Cristea,” he wrote on Twitter. “Londoners hold her & her loved ones in our thoughts today.”