London attacks: Utah man killed, wife injured, relative says

Kurt Cochran and his wife Melissa were in Europe to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary and had been due to return to the United States on Thursday (March 23).
Kurt Cochran and his wife Melissa were in Europe to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary and had been due to return to the United States on Thursday (March 23).PHOTO: FACEBOOK/KURT COCHRAN

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - A Utah man was killed and his wife badly injured during Wednesday’s attack near Britain’s parliament in London, a relative and a spokesman from the couple’s church said on Thursday (March 23).

Kurt Cochran, 54, and his wife, Melissa, were in Europe to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary and had been due to return to the United States on Thursday, according to his brother-in-law, Clinton Payne.

The couple were among the first victims struck by a sports utility vehicle that ploughed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, Payne said in a statement.

Kurt Cochran was one of three people killed in the attack, including a policeman who was stabbed to death. Cochran’s wife was among about 40 who were injured. The killer, identified on Thursday as British-born Khalid Masood, was shot to death by police.

Cochran’s wife was being treated in a hospital after suffering a broken leg and rib and a cut to her head, Payne said. She was expected to recover. “Our hearts ache for her and their children in losing their loving companion and father,” Payne said.

US President Donald Trump expressed his condolences. “A great American, Kurt Cochran, was killed in the London terror attack,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “My prayers and condolences are with his family and friends.”

The Cochrans were self-employed and had built up a recording studio business over the last 10 years, according to a GoFundMe page set up by the family to help pay for Melissa Cochran’s treatment. They lived in Bountiful, a city about 16km north of Salt Lake City.

The Cochrans were well known in the area for donating their recording and audio skills to local school productions, “other worthy causes” and their hometown’s Summerfest celebration, Payne wrote on the GoFundMe page.

The couple were visiting Melissa Cochran’s parents, who are missionaries in London for the Salt Lake City-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), also known as the Mormon church, LDS spokesman Eric Hawkins said in an email.

Kurt Cochran’s most recent uploads on his Facebook page depicted scenes from their vacation in Europe, including one photo of him smiling while holding a large glass of Belgian beer.

“This pain is so heart-wrenching and raw, it has rocked our family,” another relative, Shantell Payne, wrote on Facebook.“We will miss Kurt beyond words.”