London attack: Five dead in Westminster terror incident

PC Keith PalmerImage copyright
Metropolitan Police

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Keith Palmer had 15 years service with the police

The police officer killed in a terror attack at Westminster has been named by the Met Police as PC Keith Palmer.

The 48-year-old husband and father was among five people who died, including the attacker, near the Houses of Parliament.

The attacker, whose identity police believe they know, stabbed the unarmed officer before being shot dead.

Forty other people were injured after a car struck pedestrians on nearby Westminster Bridge, before it crashed.

Acting Deputy Commissioner and head of counter terrorism at the Metropolitan Police, Mark Rowley, said they were working on the assumption the attacker was “inspired by international terrorism”.

PC Palmer was a member of the Met’s parliamentary and diplomatic protection command and had 15 years service.

‘Never give in’

Mr Rowley paid tribute to PC Palmer, saying: “He was someone who left for work today expecting to return home at the end of his shift – and he had every right to expect that would happen.”

He said the parliamentary protection team are a combination of armed and unarmed officers and “sadly the officer who lost his life today was unarmed”.

Mr Rowley added: “He was supported by armed colleagues who shot and killed the attacker.”

The acting deputy commissioner said specially-trained family liaison officers were supporting the families of the three members of the public who lost their lives.

Three police officers were among those injured, two of whom were in a serious condition, he added.

Speaking in Downing Street after chairing a meeting of the government’s Cobra emergencies committee, Prime Minister Theresa May said it was a “sick and depraved” attack on the heart of the capital and attempts to defeat UK values were “doomed to failure”.

Mrs May paid tribute to the “exceptional men and women” of the police force who responded to the attack, saying: “We will all move forward together, never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.”

The prime minister added: “The location of this attack was no accident. The terrorist chose to strike at the heart of our capital city where people of all nationalities, religions and cultures come together to celebrate the values of liberty, democracy and freedom of speech.”

Media captionFootage shows the moment a car sped down Westminster Bridge and a woman fell into the River Thames
Media captionLondon attack: Eyewitness describes terror scene aftermath

Earlier, Mr Rowley, said a major investigation was under way into the “marauding terrorist attack”.

He said emergency services were called at 14.40 GMT after the car was driven over Westminster Bridge, hitting and injuring a number of members of the public and the three police officers, who were on their way back from a commendation ceremony.

After the car crashed into the railings of the Houses of Parliament, a man armed with a knife “continued the attack” and tried to enter the building.

Media captionTheresa May: “We will never give in to terror”

Eyewitnesses said police fired three or four gunshots as the knifeman lunged towards a second officer. Parliament went into lockdown.

Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood – a former Army officer whose brother died in the Bali terrorist bombing in 2002 – attempted mouth-to-mouth resuscitation of an injured police officer.

The officer who was killed was said by Mr Rowley to have been armed – but police later confirmed that was not the case.

In latest developments:

  • The prime minister said the UK terror threat level would remain at severe – its second highest – meaning an attack is “highly likely”
  • Westminster underground station was shut and remains open for interchange only
  • Home Secretary Amber Rudd urged everyone to remain calm but be vigilant and if they see anything they are concerned about report it to the police
  • A group of French schoolchildren were on the bridge and three were injured
  • 13 students from Edge Hill University in Lancashire were also caught up in the incident – two were taken to hospital and described as walking wounded; two others had minor injuries
  • People worried about family and friends can call the police casualty bureau on: 0800 056 0944 or 0207 158 0010. Anyone with images or footage of the incident is urged to send them to www.ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk
  • Kings College Hospital says eight patients are being treated there – six male, and two female. Two are critical and two are stable
  • St Thomas’ Hospital said two patients had been admitted – both are stable; the Royal London Hospital received one patient
  • The Port of London Authority said a woman was pulled alive from the River Thames near the bridge and was being treated for serious injuries

Analysis

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PA

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A man believed to be the suspect received medical treatment, while two knives lie on the floor

By Dominic Casciani, home affairs correspondent

The incident outside Westminster is exactly the kind of scenario that security chiefs have been planning for.

It looks like the type of attack jihadis have wanted to carry out in Britain – namely attacking people with a vehicle and taking on the security forces with knives.

In the security services’ jargon this is known as a “marauding attack” and is the hardest type of terrorist incident to predict and defend against. That means casualties, as we have seen in Nice and elsewhere, are inevitable.

But what matters just as much is how the police then respond.

Armed police at Parliament were able to stop the attacker. Within minutes, Westminster was flooded with more armed officers, including counter-terrorism specialists.

Inside Scotland Yard, teams of detectives began working on the next critical phase – establishing the suspect’s movements, whether he acted alone and, in tandem with their colleagues on the street, making sure London is as secure as it can be in light of these awful events.

Westminster remains locked down and it will remain so until Scotland Yard is certain the threat has been contained.


‘Screams and commotion’

Press Association political editor Andrew Woodcock witnessed the scenes unfolding from his office window overlooking New Palace Yard.

Media caption‘At least five mown down’ by car on Westminster Bridge
Media caption“Man in black moving his arm in a way that suggested he was either stabbing or striking the… policeman” – journalist Quentin Letts

“I heard shouts and screams from outside and looked out, and there was a group of maybe 40 or 50 people running round the corner from Bridge Street into Parliament Square.

“They appeared to be running away from something.”

Image copyright
PA

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Police surround suspected attacker on the courtyard in front of Parliament

Image copyright
Getty Images

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Acting Deputy Commissioner Mark Rowley updated the media outside New Scotland Yard…

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Reuters

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As forensic officers started to gather evidence on Westminster Bridge

“As the group arrived at the Carriage Gates, where policemen are posted at the security entrance, a man suddenly ran out of the crowd and into the yard.”

‘Mowed down’

An eye witness, Radoslaw Sikorski, a senior fellow at Harvard’s Centre for European Studies, posted a video to Twitter showing people lying injured in the road on Westminster Bridge.

Media captionSteve Voake, eyewitness: “I tried to stop people coming on to the bridge”
  • MPs were locked in the House of Commons for more than four hours and business suspended
  • Around 1,000 people were taken to Westminster Abbey for safety and were then being processed by police
  • The House of Commons and Lords will sit at their usual times on Thursday
  • Over the following days there will be extra unarmed and armed officers on the streets of London
  • The White House said Mrs May had spoken to President Donald Trump about the attack
  • Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo says the Eiffel tower will go dark at midnight in homage to the London victims
  • London mayor Sadiq Khan praised citizens and emergency services for their “tremendous bravery” and said: “Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism.”

Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh said: “We offer our deepest sympathy to the family of the officer who has died. This incident shows the dangers our colleagues face on a daily basis.”


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