Wednesday 22 November 2017

Stabbed policeman who made 'ultimate sacrifice' previously saved officer's life

Police Constable Keith Palmer, who was stabbed to death by terrorist Khalid Masood at the British Parliament. Photo: PA
Police Constable Keith Palmer, who was stabbed to death by terrorist Khalid Masood at the British Parliament. Photo: PA

Christopher Hope and Gordon Rayner

The policeman stabbed to death defending the British parliament will be considered for a posthumous honour after he made "the ultimate sacrifice", Prime Minister 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 Mrs May said he had "devoted his life to the service of his country".

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 around £300,000 had been donated for the family of PC Palmer (48) through online fundraising pages.

Read more: London terror: Death toll rises to five people - including attacker - as eight arrested on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts

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 Metropolitan Police 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 five-year-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?"

Mr may 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,

A former police officer named Nina called British 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 don'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.

Read more: Revealed: The vital questions Westminster terror investigation must answer

She added: "He was such a lovely man. He was always very funny. He used to bring cakes into work. We worked at the same station."

PC James Aitkenhead, who worked alongside him, 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." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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