Westminster terrorist attack: Bodyguard breaks down at inquest

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The minister’s bodyguard who shot Westminster attack terrorist Khalid Masood broke down in court as he described fearing for his life.

“He was carrying two large knives… covered in blood. He was going to kill me,” the close protection officer told an inquest, his voice wavering.

Masood had ploughed through pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing four, and fatally stabbed PC Keith Palmer.

He died after being shot in the Palace of Westminster on 22 March last year.

Two close protection officers were granted anonymity at 52-year-old Masood’s inquest. They gave evidence beneath the public gallery in the Old Bailey’s Court One, with the media listening from another room.

The bodyguard who fired the shots – known to the court as SA74 – said he heard an “explosion” as Masood’s car crashed.

The officers moved towards the Carriage Gates, where PC Palmer had been stabbed, the court heard.

Police officers and members of the public were “frantically” moving towards him “trying to get away from something or someone”, said SA74.

“I was certain that something terrible was happening.”

He described drawing his Glock pistol on seeing Masood running towards him, and shouting at the attacker to drop the knives, before firing three times.

Bomb risk?

His colleague – known as SB73 – described to jurors how he risked his safety to handcuff the attacker as he lay dying.

“At that time he was still breathing. His chest was still rising and falling. He was going grey,” he said.

“He basically stopped breathing, so I started CPR; chest compressions.”

Jonathan Hough QC, for the coroner, asked: “Is it right to say there was a risk given the circumstances he might have a bomb?”

The officer agreed.

‘Mouth-to-mouth’

A police officer who was on duty as part of a palace search team at Westminster described joining the officer at the scene to find Masood with two gunshot wounds.

“I was unable to find his pulse and started CPR. I continued the mouth-to-mouth on the suspect,” he said.

The inquest heard he was joined by a doctor, and a defibrillator was called for after a first was found to be faulty.

PC Dunmore added: “He started to deteriorate. He started to go cold and clammy and unresponsive.”

Paramedics arrived and Masood was taken to St Mary’s Hospital, with CPR continuing in the ambulance, but he died as a result of damaged caused to his heart and lung by one of the bullets.

Those killed in the attack were PC Palmer, 48, American tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes, 75, mother-of-two Aysha Frade, 44, and Romanian designer Andreea Cristea, 31. The coroner ruled last week that they were unlawfully killed.

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Heat.io Staff
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