Shocked Sheffield student asked by cops if she 'shaved her body hair' after terror attack

Miriam Walker-Khan - Picture: BBC
Miriam Walker-Khan - Picture: BBC
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A University of Sheffield student who was caught up in the Westminster terror attack said she was later subjected to a 'degrading interview' by police.

Miriam Walker-Khan, 23, was visiting Parliament with around 40 fellow journalism students when Khalid Masood launched his deadly terrorist attack in March.

The students were in lockdown in Portcullis House as police dealt with the incident before Ms Walker-Khan gave a statement to officers.

Days later, she was visited at her home in Sheffield by two-counter terrorism detectives from West Yorkshire Police on behalf of Scotland Yard.

The 23-year-old, a BBC trainee sports journalist, told the BBC she was the only one in her class to be interviewed by counter terrorism officers at home.

Ms Walker-Khan, who is part-Pakistani, said: "The first question was to describe my ethnic appearance. I was like 'What on earth is an ethnic appearance?, that doesn't really exist.'

"She said the answers are like black, Hispanic, African, Asian and I said I wasn't any of these things. There wasn't a mixed one.

"The next four questions were about body hair and facial hair. They asked me to describe what my body hair was and the options were shaved, waxed, hairy, trimmed.

"She was looking at my body and at that point I asked why these questions were on a form for a witness statement and she said they asked everyone."

According to experts, some Islamic attackers have shaved their body hair as part of a ritual to purify themselves before an attack.

The former student said she was 'baffled' by the questions, including being asked to describe her eyebrows.

She said: "Those questions to me were so degrading and the fact that I had been contacted when nobody else had, it became really obvious what was going on.

"I felt like I was being treated as a criminal."

Miriam told the BBC that she did not make a formal complaint afterwards as she did not believe it would make a difference.

West Yorkshire Police said that they had contacted Miriam to discuss her concerns.

Scotland Yard told the Daily Mail that the questions were a 'genuine, isolated error'.