‘Cowardly’ police chief acted sensibly, terror inquest is told
THE Chief Coroner defended police chief Sir Craig Mackey yesterday against accusations of cowardice for leaving the scene of the Westminster terror attack.
Mark Lucraft QC told the Old Bailey that Metropolitan Police acting commissioner Sir Craig was right to lock himself and two civilians in his car as Khalid Masood murdered PC Keith Palmer a short distance away on March 22 last year.
Current and retired police officers went on social media to attack Sir Craig and a photograph of him with his knighthood medal and ribbon was doctored to show him displaying a white feather – a traditional symbol of cowardice.
But, summing up at the inquest into Masood’s death, Judge Lucraft said: “There was nothing Sir Craig could have done to stop Masood attacking PC Palmer. It is clear from the CCTV footage he would not have been able to get to Keith Palmer before Khalid Masood had inflicted the fatal injury.”
The judge said Sir Craig’s actions were “sensible and proper” to protect his two civilian companions.
Yesterday, the inquest jury delivered a verdict of “lawful killing” on Judge Lucraft’s directions.
Jihadist Masood, 52, fatally mowed down four people in a 4x4 on Westminster Bridge before crashing the hired car, grabbing two knives and running into Parliament’s precincts.
PC Palmer, 48, struggled with him before slipping on the wet cobblestones. As he lay defenceless, Masood stabbed him several times before being shot dead by a plain clothes protection officer who was at the scene by chance.
Westminster on day of terror attack and inset, Sir Craig