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Thursday 21 September 2017

Funeral held for Romanian tourist killed in Westminster terror attack

Andrei Burnaz, the boyfriend of Andreea Cristea, attends her funeral (Vadim Ghirda/AP)
Andrei Burnaz, the boyfriend of Andreea Cristea, attends her funeral (Vadim Ghirda/AP)
Romanian national Andreea Cristea, 31, died after being knocked into the River Thames

A funeral service has taken place for a Romanian tourist thrown into the Thames when an extremist ploughed into pedestrians on London's Westminster Bridge.

Andreea Cristea, 31, was knocked into the river when Khalid Masood drove his rented car into pedestrians on March 22 and died two weeks later.

Her boyfriend, Andrei Burnaz, suffered a broken foot.

Masood rushed on to the grounds of Parliament, where he fatally stabbed a policeman before being shot dead by another officer.

Dozens of mourners attended the service at the St Mary's church on Saturday near the dockyards in the city in Constanta in eastern Romania, near the sea that she loved.

The Romanian couple were on a short break to celebrate the birthday of Mr Burnaz, who had been planning to propose to Miss Cristea.

About 150 mourners carrying flickering candles gathered at the church wearing badges with her photo which said: "Forever in my heart!" Two heart-shaped wreaths of white roses adorned her coffin.

Orthodox Archbishop Teodosie of Tomis headed a group of priests who wafted incense during the service, much of which was sung.

Miss Cristea was pulled from the Thames and later had surgery for a blood clot on the brain. She died on April 6 when life support was withdrawn.

She was the fifth victim of Masood, a 52-year-old former inmate who had embraced radical Islam. Dozens more were wounded in the rampage.

Mr Teodosie called Miss Cristea "young, beautiful, hard-working and full of love" and that "a destiny that was about to take flight had its wings cut," alluding to the forthcoming proposal from Mr Burnaz, an engineer who stood quietly during the service and wept occasionally.

Elder sister Magda Toi posted recently on Facebook "Beautiful, delicate, difficult, caring, hopeful, vivacious; always ready to offer surprises ... even like this!"

"I miss your smile, I miss your voice, I miss you wherever you are," Ms Toi also wrote.

After her death, her family and Mr Burnaz described Miss Cristea as "our shining ray of light that will forever keep on shining in our hearts," and said they would donate all the money raised on her behalf since the attack to charity.

Also killed in the attack were Utah man Kurt Cochran, 54; Britons Leslie Rhodes, 75, and Aysha Frade, 44; and 48-year-old police officer Keith Palmer.

Police believe Masood, who had convictions for violent crimes, acted alone.

AP

British Ambassador to Romania Paul Brummell attended the funeral.

He tweeted: "A moving day celebrating the life of Andreea Cristea, tragically cut short by a murderous act of terrorism."

Two London police officers were also there.

AP

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