Met po­lice chief de­fends deputy over Pc at­tack

Crit­i­cism for stay­ing in car ‘sim­ply wrong’

Yorkshire Post - - NEWS - STEVE TEALE NEWS COR­RE­SPON­DENT

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.

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