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With chief defends deputy over Westminster terrorist attacks

With chief defends deputy over Westminster terrorist attacks

The oldest officer of Scotland Yard said that criticism of her deputy's decision to stay in his car when an unarmed PC was stabbed to death in the Westminster terrorist attack is "just wrong".

Chief of police Cressida Dick defended Sir Craig Mackey after a jury in judicial writings had established that Khalid Masood, 52, was legally killed when he was shot by a minister's bodyguard.

Her remarks corresponded to those of Chief Coroner Mark Lucraft QC and Neal Basu, the anti-terrorist of the Met, who both announced the actions of Sir Craig on 22 March last year.

Masood mowed pedestrians at Westminster Bridge in a hired SUV, killing four and wounding heavily 29 before rushing through two gates of the Houses of Parliament.

Sir Craig, then acting commissioner, told in an investigation into his death that he had just left a ministerial meeting when Muslim convert Masood attacked Pc Keith Palmer 48.

Khalid Masood
Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood (With Police)

He was faced with calls for resignation and serious criticism of social media after he had told the Old Bailey jury that he had two civilian colleagues in the vehicle because they had no personal protective equipment or a radio.

Masood's 82-second rampage ended when he was shot three times by a bodyguard just a few yards away.

CCTV images showed Sir Craig, who retires in December, then opened the door to get out of the car, but was advised by a security guard on the site to leave.

Sir Craig Mackey
Sir Craig Mackey (Victoria Jones / PA)

After the trial, Dick said "the extraordinary amount of confused, unpleasant, personal and ignorant commentary" about the actions of Sir Craig.

"This criticism is simply not supported by the evidence," she said.

"The attack on New Palace Yard took place and was stopped in seconds, Sir Craig had absolutely no way to stop the murderer or save Pc Palmer, anyone who suggests otherwise is simply wrong.

"The actions he could and wanted to undertake were to protect the unarmed colleagues of the police personnel who were in the car with him, and he continued the reaction of the Met to the attack."

Westminster attack
(PA Graphics)

Mr. Basu, who was the head of the Masood investigation, spoke outside the Old Bailey and also shot the & # 39; disgusting remarks & # 39; against Sir Craig.

"Both me and the researchers both know that Craig could not have done anything to stop Masood or that he had saved Palmer or others from being injured," he said.

The coroner has defended the actions of Sir Craig as "sensible and correct and meant to protect others in the car", pointing out that he "does not escape the stage".

"It is clear from Sir Craig's evidence that there was nothing he could have done to stop Masood," he said.

"PC Palmer was practically attacked as soon as Sir Craig saw the attacker.

"None of them had any means to protect themselves or to resist an attack, and even if they had come out of the car, it is clear from the evidence of the CCTV that he would not have reached Pc Palmer before Masood caused his deadly wounds . "

A jury of seven men and four women took two hours and 22 minutes to discover that Masood had been lawfully murdered.

In a short story of the events that led to his death, they discovered that Masood "wanted to cause serious harm and / or live a life" while continuing without stopping or changing direction.

He had received verbal warnings, but "continued to approach the dense security guards in speed" before he was shot, the jury said.

Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood drives Westminster Bridge (Metropolitan Police / PA)

The court heard dramatic stories about how unarmed police officers and members of the public fled after Masood killed Pc Palmer and went on with bruised, foot-long knives, aiming to hit more agents.

His eruption was stopped by a dense protection officer who was only identified as SA74, on the spot to act as a bodyguard for a government minister.

The officer shot him three times with a Glock pistol after Masood kept running forward, despite warnings called "to come back".

SA74 gave an emotional exposition of how the drama unfolded, paused during his argumentation and his voice hesitated when he remembered: "I was sure something terrible was going on."

"I saw a big black man running towards me, carrying two big knives, and I could see clearly that they were covered in blood," he told the Old Bailey.

"He would kill me."

Jury members were shown dramatic images of the bodyguard and his colleague SB73 facing the heavily built assailant, who fell to the ground after being shot.

Amidst the fear of wearing a suicide belt, Masood was fascinated and got first aid from the sniper and his colleague.

Masood, who had sent a "Jihadi" document shortly before his attack, was later declared dead.

At the time it was not known whether it was part of a broader coordinated attack, although later research showed that Masood acted alone.

Victims of the attack (from left to right) PC Keith Palmer, Aysha Frade, Leslie Rhodes, Andreea Cristea and Kurt Cochran (With Police)

Masood & # 39; s five victims were Pc Palmer, the American tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, the retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes, 75, the mother of the two Aysha Frade, 44, and the Romanian designer Andreea Cristea, 31.

After an earlier investigation, Mr. Lucraft concluded that they had been illegally murdered by Masood.

The coroner who was found there had "shortcomings" in the security of the palace and it was possible that Pc Palmer might not have died if armed officers were parked at the carriage gates.

The Met apologized for the possibility that the force lost the chance to prevent the murder of one of its officers and Ms Dick said: "We have already fully accepted the Chief Coroner's findings of deficiencies in the security system in New Palace Yard in March 2017.

"We have made significant improvements since the attack, and once we receive the detailed findings from the Chief Coroner, we will respond to all recommendations made."

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