Westminster bodyguard tells of attempt to save terrorist’s life
A minister’s bodyguard has told how he tried to save Khalid Masood’s life after his colleague shot him as the Westminster terrorist approached them armed with two large kitchen knives.
Masood killed four people and seriously injured 29 others when he ploughed through pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before knifing Pc Keith Palmer to death as he guarded the Carriage Gates.
The rampage took just 82 seconds and ended when two close protection officers, who had been waiting for their principal, rushed in with handguns drawn shouting warnings before one opened fire.
A bodyguard, identified only as SA74, shot the 52-year-old attacker three times with his Glock pistol in the Palace of Westminster on March 22 last year.
From beneath the public gallery in the Old Bailey’s Court One, with the media allowed only to listen to proceedings via video link from another room, his colleague, known only as SB73, told jurors how he risked his own safety to handcuff the attacker while he lay dying on the floor.
“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 and provided “special measures” to give their evidence.
Speaking about the start of the incident, he continued: “There was a large crash bang. It sounded like a car crash.
“I started hearing shouting and screaming from the direction of where the crash had been.
“We started moving towards the gates.
“There was obviously something going on – shouting and screaming and panic that was around in the air – so we headed towards the gates to see what was going on.
“There were lots of people running towards us at that stage. My colleague shouted ‘knife’.”
They saw terrorist Masood with a large kitchen knife in each hand, four to five metres away and walking fast towards them.
SB73 said: “I shouted a verbal warning. I’m not sure what I actually 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.
“My colleague fired a number of shots which stopped the male. I heard the shots and the male slumped to the ground.”
Afterwards, the officer told how he moved forward to handcuff the attacker with a police constable.
The witness said he noticed Masood had two gunshot wounds to the torso.
Jonathan Hough QC, for the coroner, said: “Is it right to say there was a risk given the circumstances he might have a bomb?”
The officer agreed.
Masood’s five victims 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.