A woman caught up in the Westminster terror attack was later subjected to a ‘degrading’ interrogation during which police asked her if she shaved an intimate part of her body.
Miriam Walker-Khan, 23, was among a group of students visiting Parliament when Khalid Masood launched his deadly attack in March. Four pedestrians were killed when his speeding car ploughed into them, and he then stabbed a policeman to death.
Ms Walker-Khan, now a BBC trainee sports journalist, gave a police statement at the scene. Days later she was visited at her home in Sheffield by two counter-terrorism detectives from West Yorkshire Police on behalf of Scotland Yard.
She says they asked personal questions which left her feeling baffled as to why she was being treated like a terror suspect.
Miriam Walker-Khan, 23, pictured, was among a group of students visiting Parliament when Khalid Masood launched his deadly attack in March. She gave a police statement at the scene
Ms Walker-Khan, who is part-Pakistani, said: ‘The first question was to describe my ethnic appearance, and I thought, ‘What on earth is an ethnic appearance? That doesn’t really exist.’
‘They then asked me to describe my body hair – the options were shaved, waxed, hairy and trimmed. At that point, I said, ‘Why are these questions on a form that is like a witness statement?’ ‘
She said one of the detectives replied: ‘Oh we just ask everyone.’
According to terrorism experts, jihadis preparing to launch attacks shave their pubic hair and armpits to purify themselves.
Ms Walker-Khan, pictured, is part-Pakistani said that none of the other students with her during the Westminster attack were interviewed by police
Ms Walker-Khan, pictured, now a BBC trainee sports journalist, was baffled that she was being treated like a terror suspect in her Sheffield home following the attack on Westminster
Ms Walker-Khan said that none of the other students with her during the attack were interviewed by police.
She said: ‘Those questions were so degrading, and the fact that I had been contacted when no one else had… I just felt like I was being treated like a criminal.’
Masood, 52, drove a car along Westminster Bridge, mowing down pedestrians before stabbing PC Keith Palmer, 47. Masood was then shot dead by police.
Ms Walker-Khan, who at the time was on a journalism course at Sheffield University, was attending Parliament with 50 other students.
A policeman points a gun at Khalid Masood, on the floor, as emergency services attend the scene outside the Palace of Westminster, London
The claim that she was the only student from her group who was interviewed by police at home is backed by her lecturer, David Holmes, who had brought them to London.
He said: ‘I understand why she was left troubled by the whole experience.’ Last night, West Yorkshire Police confirmed two of its detectives interviewed Ms Walker-Khan, but she had not made a formal complaint.’
Scotland Yard said: ‘Clearly, in the case of the Westminster attack, personal or intimate descriptions would not be relevant and therefore such questions would have been a genuine isolated error.’