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Westminster Bridge inquest: ‘I tried to save terrorist’


Clockwise from top left - PC Keith Palmer, Aysha Frade, Leslie Rhodes, Andreea Cristea and Kurt CochranImage copyright
Met Police/Social Media

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Clockwise from top left: PC Keith Palmer, Aysha Frade, Leslie Rhodes, Andreea Cristea and Kurt Cochran all lost their lives

A minister’s bodyguard has told how he tried to save Westminster attack terrorist Khalid Masood’s life after his colleague had shot him.

The officer, identified only as SB73, told an inquest Masood had approached them with two large kitchen knives.

Moments earlier, the attacker had ploughed through pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing four, and stabbed PC Keith Palmer to death.

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

In his evidence the close protection officer said his colleague – known to the court as SA74 – shot the 52-year-old three times with his Glock pistol.

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Khalid Masood’s attack left five people dead and another 29 seriously injured

From beneath the public gallery in the Old Bailey’s Court One, SB73 told jurors 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.”

The pair have been granted anonymity during the inquest, with the media allowed to listen to proceedings only via video link from another room.

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.

Speaking about the start of the incident, the bodyguard told the inquest he heard a loud bang “like a car crash”, followed by shouting and screaming.

Bomb risk?

He and his colleague moved towards the Carriage Gates, where PC Palmer had been stabbed.

“There were lots of people running towards us at that stage. My colleague shouted, ‘Knife!'” the witness said.

They saw Masood with a large kitchen knife in each hand, four to five metres away and walking fast towards them.

SB73 said: “I shouted some verbal warning – ‘Armed police, stop, drop the knife.’ – something like that.

“I thought he would seriously injure or kill one or both of us.”

His colleague then shot Masood, leaving him with two wounds to the torso, the officer said.

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.

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