‘No signs’ of armed officers at Commons attack
ARMED OFFICERS were “nowhere to be seen” when a terrorist wielding two foot-long knives attacked a police officer, an inquest heard.
Khalid Masood, 52, repeatedly stabbed Pc Keith Palmer inside the Palace of Westminster and headed towards the MPs’ entrance looking for more victims. A hearing at the Old Bailey was told that for 46 minutes before, there were no signs of the “roving” firearms squad near the open Carriage Gates into New Palace Yard.
Dominic Adamson, representing the officer’s widow Michelle, said the gates were regarded as “one of the most vulnerable areas of the New Palace Yard to an attack”.
He said: “The evidence will show that for at least 46 minutes there is no evidence of authorised firearms officers (AFOs) being present or in close proximity to the gates in the CCTV footage.”
Witnesses described the horrific scenes before Masood was brought down by a plainclothes officer, who shot him three times.
Pc James Ross told the court armed officers used to be stationed at the heavy open gates but in 2017 they had a “roving patrol”.
Pc Doug Glaze shouted for “firearms” after hearing an explosion and screams. He said: “I looked over my right shoulder. I saw who I now know to be Masood inside, already, the grounds.”
Mr Adamson suggested the chance to save Pc Palmer was lost for the lack of armed presence on the spot.
Pc Glaze said: “Certainly had firearms officers been there the threat maybe could have been neutralised.”
Senior parliamentary assistant Antonia Kerridge watched Masood stab Pc Palmer up to four times from her office in Portcullis House opposite.
Gareth Patterson QC, for families of other victims, said the attack came after Theresa May had finished Prime Minister’s Questions.
He asked: “If he had made it to the members’ entrance does it allow him access to the Chamber?”
Ms Kerridge said there was a network of corridors and rooms, but they would eventually lead there.
An ambulance arrived on the scene just before 3pm but efforts to save Pc Palmer’s life stopped at 3.15pm. The attack on Pc Palmer came after Masood had mowed down and killed four pedestrians on Westminster Bridge.