Saturday 29 April 2017

Minister's bodyguard was first to react and shoot killer

Police officers conduct a fingertip search at Carriage Gate near to the Houses of Parliament in London. Photo: PA
Police officers conduct a fingertip search at Carriage Gate near to the Houses of Parliament in London. Photo: PA

Gordon Rayner

Khalid Masood was finally stopped when he was shot dead by a British Cabinet minister's bodyguard, raising fresh questions about the UK parliament's security arrangements.

The close protection officer - understood to be the bodyguard of Michael Fallon, the defence secretary - ran towards the knife-wielding attacker and shot him three times in the chest from short range.

Sources said that he was sitting in Mr Fallon's official car, which was parked near to where the attack took place, and was first to react when he saw Masood stab Pc Keith Palmer. Mr Fallon is thought to have been voting in the Commons chamber at the time.

A separate source said armed officers who were on duty at the Carriage Gates in New Palace Yard rushed towards the terrorist's car, which had crashed into railings around the corner after mowing down pedestrians.

According to the source, that meant the nearest armed officer to the terrorist at the time he burst into New Palace Yard was the protection officer.

The entrance has been described as a "well known weak spot" because the gates are usually unlocked and manned by two unarmed officers. Masood was able to force his way through Carriage Gates, together with people who were running away from him.

As MPs gathered in the Commons yesterday, warm tributes were paid to the policemen who keep MPs safe, and in particular Pc Palmer. The Speaker, John Bercow, signalled MPs' "profound appreciation" for the work of security personnel on Wednesday. A spokesman for Mr Fallon refused to discuss whether the protection officer was assigned to him. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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