Met police chief defends deputy over Pc attack
Criticism for staying in car ‘simply wrong’
SCOTLAND YARD’S most senior police officer has said criticism of her deputy’s decision to stay in his car as an unarmed Pc was stabbed to death in the Westminster terror attack is “simply wrong”.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick defended Sir Craig Mackey after an inquest jury found Khalid Masood, 52, was lawfully killed when he was shot dead by a Cabinet minister’s bodyguard.
Her comments echoed those made by Chief Coroner Mark Lucraft QC and the Met’s counterterror chief Neil Basu, who both spoke out in support of Sir Craig’s actions on March 22 last year.
Masood mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in a hired SUV, killing four and injuring 29, before storming through gates near the Houses of Parliament armed with two knives.
Sir Craig, then acting commissioner, told an inquest into his death he had just left a ministerial meeting as Muslim convert Masood attacked Pc Keith Palmer, 48.
He faced calls to resign and severe criticism on social media after telling the Old Bailey jury he remained in the vehicle with two civilian colleagues because they had no personal protective equipment or a radio.
Masood’s 82-second rampage was brought to an end when he was shot three times by a bodyguard just yards away.
CCTV footage showed Sir Craig, who is due to retire in December, then opened the door to get out of the car but was advised by an officer on guard at the site to leave.
Speaking after the inquest Ms Dick addressed “the extraordinary amount of confused, unpleasant, personalised and ignorant commentary” about the actions of Sir Craig.
“These criticisms are simply not supported by the evidence,” she said. “The attack in New Palace Yard occurred and was stopped in seconds. Sir Craig had absolutely no opportunity to stop the killer or save Pc Palmer. Anyone who suggests otherwise is simply wrong.
“The actions he was able to and did take were to protect the unarmed police staff colleagues who were in the car with him.
“He went on to lead the Met’s response to the attack with distinction.”
Speaking outside the Old Bailey, Mr Basu, who headed the investigation into Masood, also blasted the “abhorrent remarks” levelled at Sir Craig.