A defiant smile from Westminster terror victim that says ‘getting stronger every day’

Melissa Cochran, 46, a victim of the Westminster terror attacks, is 'getting stronger every day' in hospital.
Melissa Cochran, 46, a victim of the Westminster terror attacks, is 'getting stronger every day' in hospital.
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THE FAMILY of an American victim of the Westminster terror attacks has released photographs showing her defiant path to recovery in hospital.

Melissa Cochran, 46, was shown smiling and standing with the aid of crutches in pictures released on the family’s fundraising page with a caption that read: “Getting stronger every day.”

A second picture of her smiling in bed while surrounded by relatives said: “Talking with loved ones at home is some of the best medicine.”

Mrs Cochran, from Utah, lost her husband Kurt, 54, during the Westminster terror attack on March 22.

The couple had been celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary in London when they sustained multiple injuries in Khalid Masood’s lethal attack, which left five dead, including police officer Keith Palmer.

Mrs Cochran was taken to hospital after suffering a broken leg, rib and cut head after Masood drove into pedestrians on Westminster bridge before crashing into a fence at the western entrance to the Palace of Westminster.

That is where he stabbed Pc Palmer to death inside the Palace grounds.

Mr Cochran died from multiple injuries at the bridge scene.

Mrs Cochran’s brother, Clint Payne, earlier this week said the days since the attack had been “humbling and difficult” for the family, but that it had been a “tender experience” for them to be together to support her.

Mr Payne said they took comfort from the idea that Mr Cochran focused on “the positive” things in life, saying: “Those of us who knew Kurt in life know that Kurt would not bear ill feelings towards anyone, and we can draw strength as a family from that.

“His whole life was an example of focusing on the positive, not pretending that negative things don’t exist, but not living our life in the negative.

“And that’s what we choose to do also.”

The couple’s GoFundMe page, created in the hours after Mrs Cochran arrived in hospital, has so far raised over £60,000 ($74,000), against an original target of £40,200 ($50,000).

The news came after inquests were opened into the deaths of the victims of the Westminster terror attack and a separate inquest into the death of the terrorist, Khalid Masood. The hearing into Masood’s death heard he was killed by a single gunshot to his chest.

Masood, 52, was shot dead by an armed police officer after gaining access to the Palace of Westminster grounds during his attack in the heart of political London.

Kent-born Masood, who lived in Birmingham, earlier mounted the kerb twice in a Hyundai car as he sped across Westminster Bridge.

He then mounted it a third time, crashing, and then charged into the Palace of Westminster grounds armed with two knives.

In total his attack, which left four people dead, lasted just 82 seconds.

The Duke of Cambridge has visited medical staff at St Thomas’ Hospital to thank them for their live-saving efforts during the attack.

William made a private visit to talk to doctors and nurses at the hospital, which is situated just yards from where the atrocity took place on Westminster Bridge, and members of the London Ambulance Service who attended the scene.

A Kensington Palace spokeswoman said: “The Duke wanted to visit privately with some of those who were first to respond to the attacks.”

The visit followed a similar one by the Duke’s father, the Prince of Wales, last week.

Charles visited staff at King’s College Hospital to thank them for their “marvellous efforts” during the terror attack, which left five people dead, including police officer Keith Palmer.

The family of Westminster terror attack victim Aysha Frade say she will be remembered as “our guardian angel who never shied away from facing up to bullies”, her family has said.

The 44-year-old was killed on Westminster Bridge.