The Daily Telegraph
Honour proposed for policeman’s sacrifice
James Cleverly, who served with Pc Keith Palmer in the Army, makes emotional appeal to Commons, as family pay tribute to a ‘wonderful dad’
The policeman stabbed to death at Parliament will be considered for a posthumous honour after he made “the ultimate sacrifice”, Theresa May said. Pc Keith Palmer’s family praised “a wonderful dad and husband”, while the Prime Minister said he “devoted his life to the service of his country”. Other victims were named as Londonborn Spaniard Aysha Frade, 43, and American Kurt Cochran, 54.
THE POLICEMAN stabbed to death defending Parliament will be considered for a posthumous honour after he made “the ultimate sacrifice”, Theresa May has said, as it emerged he had previously saved the life of a fellow officer.
Pc Keith Palmer’s family paid tribute to “a wonderful dad and husband”, while the Prime Minister said he had “devoted his life to the service of his country”.
The Conservative MP James Cleverly, who previously served in the Army with Pc Palmer, was close to tears in the Commons as he remembered the “strong, professional public servant” who was a “delight” to spend time with.
By last night more than £350,000 had been donated for the family of Pc Palmer, 48, through online fundraising pages.
Pc Palmer was nominated in 2015 for Best Thief Taker in the Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s Excellence Awards, having made more than 150 arrests in 12 months.
His shoulder number, 4157U, would be permanently retired as a mark of respect, the Met said.
A day after he was murdered by Khalid Masood, Pc Palmer’s family released a tribute to the former soldier, who was married with a fiveyear-old daughter.
They said: “Keith will be remembered as a wonderful dad and husband. A loving son, brother and uncle, a long-time supporter of Charlton FC, dedicated to his job and proud to be a police officer, brave and courageous, a friend to everyone who knew him.
“He will be deeply missed. We love him so much. His friends and family are shocked and devastated by his loss.”
Mr Cleverly struggled to keep his composure as he asked Mrs May: “Would the Prime Minister consider posthumously recognising his gallantry and sacrifice formally?”
The Prime Minister said that Pc Palmer had given “tremendous service” to his country “in so many ways” and assured Mr Cleverly that “the issue he has raised will, of course, be considered in due course”.
MPs also suggested a memorial be erected at the spot where he fell in New Palace Yard, and the Labour MP Chris Bryant asked if a shield could be put up for Pc Palmer in the Commons chamber, alongside tributes to others who have lost their lives in the line of service, including fellow terrorism victims MPs Airey Neave and Ian Gow.
A former police officer called Nina telephoned the radio station LBC to say she owed her life to Pc Palmer after he gave her emergency treatment following a car crash.
Nina, from Orpington, Kent, said she was a passenger in a police patrol car that crashed into a van while on duty in 2007. Pc Palmer, who was one of the first on the scene, kept her alive until the paramedics arrived.
She said: “I was in a police car on duty and my driver hit a white van and I got it all.
“Keith kept me alive until the ambulance got there. I didn’t know he did it – the other officers told me.”
Nina’s injuries were so severe that she had to spend three months in hospital and learn to walk again. She added: “He was such a lovely man. He was always very funny. He used to bring cakes in to work. We worked at the same station.”
Pc Palmer served as a gunner with 100 Regiment Royal Artillery before joining the Metropolitan Police in 2001.
He worked as a riot policeman with the Territorial Support Group before being posted to guard Parliament in April 2016.
Pc James Aitkenhead, who worked alongside him in the TSG, said: “Keith was a genuinely nice person; nobody had a bad word to say about him.
“When I heard what had happened I knew it would be him, because that’s just the sort of guy he was, to step straight in when others might step back.”
Inspector Mark Turner, from the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, said: “He really was a solid, reliable member of the team – he came in and just got the job done, quietly and efficiently.
“He was a fantastic member of staff and will be sorely missed.”
Referring to Pc Palmer’s outstanding record for arrests, Pc Aitkenhead added: “He had a great work ethic, he worked on our warrants’ car for years, getting up at 4am to serve warrants and arresting wanted offenders. He was always so positive, always staying late after everyone else and getting in early.
“In his personal life he was a massive Charlton Athletic fan and had a season ticket.
“We will miss him so much.”