Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood was ‘lawfully killed’ by cops after murderous rampage, inquest finds

The 52-year-old mowed down pedestrians on the bridge – killing four and seriously injuring 29 – before stabbing unarmed PC Keith Palmer to death at the Palace of Westminster.

He was gunned down and killed by armed cops following the horror on March 22 last year.

Jurors at the Westminster inquest at the Old Bailey today took just two hours and 22 minutes to find he was lawfully killed.

They concluded he was intent on inflicting "serious harm" when he stormed through the gates to the Palace of Westminster.

He had been issued with verbal warnings but "continued to move toward the close protection officers at speed" before he was shot, the jury said.

The 82 second-long massacre last year ended when two close protection officers rushed in with handguns drawn shouting warnings before one of them – SA74 – opened fire.

Masood was shot three times with a Glock pistol by the hero bodyguard, who broke down at the inquest this week as he recalled killing the monster.

He said: "He was carrying two large knives and I could clearly see that they were covered in blood.

"He was going to kill me.

"As soon as I saw that threat, my pistol was drawn and I was pointing it at him.

"After shouting at him to drop the knives and perceiving no change in his demeanour, I fired the pistol.

"It was a quick succession of shots fired until that threat was no longer present."

Today, the coroner told the court a Met Police chief who failed to go to PC Keith Palmer's aid was not a coward as there was "nothing he could have done" to stop the attack.

Sir Craig Mackey, one of the country's most senior police officers, has come under fire for locking himself in his car yards from where Khalid Masood stabbed PC Palmer to death.

He told the Old Bailey this week his "instinct" was to get out of the car but he remained locked inside as he was unarmed, had no police radio or protective equipment and was accompanied by two civilian police staff who had no formal officer training.

There have been calls for him to be stripped of his knighthood while retired police detective Peter Bleksley described his actions as "utterly unforgivable".

Sir Craig is due to retire in December and was awarded a knighthood for services to policing in the last New Year’s honours list.

hief coroner Mark Lucraft QC today defended the senior officer's actions as he summed up the inquest evidence to a jury.

He said: "It is clear from the evidence of Sir Craig there was nothing he could have done to stop Masood."

None of the three occupants in the car had "any means of protecting themselves or resisting an attack", the coroner added.

He added: “What Sir Craig did was sensible and proper, intending to protect others in the car with him. None of them had any way of protecting themselves from the risk of attack.

"Even if he had got out of the car, it was clear from the CCTV evidence he would not have reached Pc Palmer before Masood inflicted his fatal wounds."

Even though his first instinct as an officer was to get out in New Palace Yard, Sir Craig needed to take command at Scotland Yard as it could have been a much larger attack, Mr Lucraft said.

As well as PC Palmer, Masood killed American tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes, 75, mother-of-two Aysha Frade, 44, and Romanian designer Andreea Cristea, 31.

More to follow…

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