‘No signs’ of armed of­fi­cers at Com­mons at­tack

Yorkshire Post - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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