Monday 26 June 2017

'Final photo' of tragic Westminster policeman shared by American tourist

  • 'Final photo' of tragic policeman shared online
  • 'I asked for a photo... he was really nice'
  • Four people died after Westminster attack
Staci R. Martin pictured posing for a photo next to Police Officer Keith Palmer outside the Houses of Parliament in London shortly before he was killed in an attack in Westminster while on duty at Parliament when he was stabbed to death. (Claire Thorogood via the AP)
Staci R. Martin pictured posing for a photo next to Police Officer Keith Palmer outside the Houses of Parliament in London shortly before he was killed in an attack in Westminster while on duty at Parliament when he was stabbed to death. (Claire Thorogood via the AP)
Australian Andrew Thorogood, 41, and daughters Alexsandra, 12, and Georgia, 9, with Pc Keith Palmer in October 2016 Photo: Andrew Thorogood/PA Wire
Enda Kenny signing a Book of Condolence for the victims of the Westminster terror attack at the British Embassy in Dublin (Irish government/PA)
President Michael D Higgins and French Ambassador to Ireland Jean Pierre Thebault who signed a Book of Condolence for the victims of the Westminster attacks in London on Wednesday. Pic:Mark Condren 24.3.2017
President Michael D Higgins and French Ambassador to Ireland Jean Pierre Thebault who signed a Book of Condolence for the victims of the Westminster attacks in London on Wednesday. Pic:Mark Condren 24.3.2017
Taoiseach Enda Kenny who signed a Book of Condolence for the victims of the Westminster attacks in London on Wednesday. Pic:Mark Condren 24.3.2017
Taoiseach Enda Kenny who signed a Book of Condolence for the victims of the Westminster attacks in London on Wednesday. Pic:Mark Condren 24.3.2017
President Michael D Higgins who signed a Book of Condolence for the victims of the Westminster attacks in London on Wednesday. Pic:Mark Condren 24.3.2017
The Duke of Westminster and Queen Elizabeth II leaving Chester Cathedral following the wedding of Lady Tamara Grosvenor and Edwin van Cutsem
The Duke of Westminster during a parade before The Queens Own Yeomanry as they are conferred the Freedom of South Ayrshire at a parade through the streets of Ayr
Westminister
An injured person is assisted on Westminster Bridge after the terror attack. Photo: Reuters/Toby Melville
Police officers conduct a fingertip search at Carriage Gate near to the Houses of Parliament in London. Photo: PA
A policeman points a gun at a man on the ground as emergency services attend the scene outside the Palace of Westminster, London, on Wedneday. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wireulation
Emergency personnel on Westminster Bridge, close to the Palace of Westminster, London, after at least two people have died after a knifeman brought terror to the heart of Westminster, mowing down pedestrians then stabbing a policeman before he was shot by armed officers. Picture: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire
Armed police respond outside Parliament during an incident on Westminster Bridge in London, Britain March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Thomas Hornall and Stephen Jone

An American tourist has shared a photo of herself with Pc Keith Palmer outside Parliament, less than an hour before the officer's death in the Westminster terror attack.

Staci Martin, visiting from Florida, said she wanted to share the image for "people to know what a nice person he was and how fragile life can be".

Around 45 minutes later, Khalid Masood, formerly known as Adrian Elms, drove a car into a number of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, before stabbing and killing Pc Palmer, a 48-year-old father-of-two, at the gates to the Palace of Westminster.

Of the photo, Ms Martin told ABC News: "It's my first time in London and I see his hat and I'm like 'I have to take a picture of him with his hat'."

Enda Kenny signing a Book of Condolence for the victims of the Westminster terror attack at the British Embassy in Dublin (Irish government/PA)
Enda Kenny signing a Book of Condolence for the victims of the Westminster terror attack at the British Embassy in Dublin (Irish government/PA)

"I walked up to him and said 'do you mind if I take a picture?' He said 'no problem'. He was really nice."

She said she wanted to ensure the photo got back to his family, believing it must be one of the last photos taken of him alive.

Another tourist who met Pc Palmer at the same Palace gate last year paid tribute to the slain officer, saying his murder "sent a shiver down my spine".

Sharing a photo of himself and his two daughters with the constable, Andrew Thorogood, a jeweller from Alice Springs, Northern Territory in Australia, spoke of a "genuinely nice bloke" whom he had invited to visit.

Kurt Cochran, Keith Palmer and Aysha Frade - The victims of the London terror attack
Kurt Cochran, Keith Palmer and Aysha Frade - The victims of the London terror attack

"We were in London last October and visited the Houses of Parliament. An officer by the name of Keith Palmer was happy to pose with us for a photo once he learned that we had travelled all the way from Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, Australia," Mr Thorogood, 41, wrote.

"I spoke with Keith for quite a while and found him to be a genuinely nice bloke. He said he would love to visit Australia with his family one day.

Emergency services bid to save the life of Khalid Masood after his murderous terror attack was ended by an armed policeman at the Palace of Westminster, London
Emergency services bid to save the life of Khalid Masood after his murderous terror attack was ended by an armed policeman at the Palace of Westminster, London

"The girls suggested if he did make it to Australia, he should visit Alice Springs and we would show him how special a place it is.

"That will never happen now, all because he was doing his job and trying to keep people safe in the face of yet another crazy terror attack. Our thoughts are with his wife and family.

A police officer holding flowers on Westminster Bridge in London
A police officer holding flowers on Westminster Bridge in London

"With everyone so suspicious of everyone else these days, he was happy to chat and smile for a photo with a bunch of Territorians on holiday whilst still remaining vigilant and carrying out his duties as a police officer."

Mr Thorogood later told the Press Association: "The last 24 hours have been somewhat surreal. I can't begin to imagine what his wife is feeling.

"It strikes a chord because my wife is from Essex and we have a close affinity with the UK.

"The brief conversation and photo we had with Keith just makes it more personal."

Three other innocent victims - Kurt Cochran, Aysha Frade and Leslie Rhodes - have died following the attack, while many more were injured.

Press Association

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in World News