London

Westminster attack: Victim 'too scared' to go outside

Francisco Lopes with his fiance Image copyright Slater & Gordon
Image caption Francisco Lopes is seeking compensation to pay for counselling and rehabilitation

A survivor of the Westminster terror attack says he is "too scared to go outside".

Portuguese Francisco Lopes, 26, was thrown over the bonnet of Khalid Masood's Hyundai car during the attack on Westminster Bridge on 22 March.

He now has limited use of his left hand and has panic attacks and agoraphobia.

"I am scared to go outside and I particularly fear busy places. I'm scared of traffic and haven't been on my bike since the attack," he said.

"I get scared when I think about what happened and I'm terrified that I could easily have died.

"I try to be like I was, which was scared of nothing, but what happened changed me."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Five people were killed in the attack

Mr Lopes, who works in a shop at nearby St Thomas' Hospital, added: "I just don't feel safe as I'm worried something bad could happen again. My life is completely different and I just want my normal life back."

Four people were killed by Masood when he drove his car into people on the bridge before stabbing PC Keith Palmer inside the grounds of the Palace of Westminster.

'Secure funds'

Mr Lopes is now launching a compensation claim against Zurich, which is the insurer for rental firm Enterprise, from whom Masood hired the car.

He wants help for the cost of counselling and rehabilitation treatment.

Patrick Maguire, a serious injury specialist lawyer from Slater and Gordon, which is representing Mr Lopes, said: "It is necessary to secure funds to ensure he gets access to this rehabilitation together with reimbursement for his financial losses. We are currently working towards this."

A Zurich spokesman said it had a specialist team looking at how its policy was impacted by the Westminster attack.

"It was a tragic event and presents many complex aspects as far as insurance is concerned. It is therefore far too soon to talk about any specific elements of this," he added.

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