Westminster Attack Probe: Police Chief Ran Off and Hid as Officer Killed
Sir Craig Mackey saw PC Keith Palmer suffer 'two determined stab wounds' before running
The inquiry into the Westminster attack, which left 5 people dead on the streets of London, has heard that the head of the Metropolitan Police witnessed an officer being attacked, but fled the scene as the unarmed PC was stabbed to death.
Investigators testified before the Old Baily that Sir Craig Mackey saw PC Keith Palmer suffer "two determined stab wounds" in a Parliament courtyard, but he hid in his car nearby as he had no protective equipment.
Current Deputy Commissioner Mackey, who was the acting head of Scotland Yard at the time, was then driven out of the parliament grounds as the attack by terrorist Khalid Masood unfolded.
Shortly before running through the main Westminster gates and killing plainclothes PC Palmer, 52-year-old Masood, who reportedly said in a final text message that he was waging jihad in revenge for Western military action in Muslim countries in the Middle East, had killed four people on Westminster Bridge:
American tourist Kurt Cochran, 54; retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes, 75; Aysha Frade, 44, and Romanian tourist Andreea Cristea, 31.
According to Sky News, Sir Craig and his colleagues locked the car doors because they had "no protective equipment and no radio," the inquests at the Old Bailey heard.
The officer told the jury how he had heard an "abnormally loud bang" that he feared was an explosion, before seeing Masood, with a butcher's knife in his hand, attack PC Palmer, 48, in a courtyard.
Sir Craig said: "There was quite a lot of confusion about what was going on.
"Clearly, the way that the male came in and the purposeful way he came, he was clearly a threat."
The senior officer, who had been meeting policing minister Brandon Lewis before leaving the parliament grounds, saw the constable suffer "two determined stab wounds."
He said: "I could see PC Palmer moving backward and him going down."
Sir Craig, who retires in December, added: "The attacker had one of those looks where, if they get you in that look, they would be after you.
"He seemed absolutely focused on getting further down and attacking anyone who was in his way."
He told the jury: "The thing that still shakes me about the attack is that it was 80-plus seconds in total. It didn't feel like that, it felt an awfully long time."
Masood was shot dead by a close protection officer after killing PC Palmer.
Asked what his reaction was following the gunshots, Sir Craig said: "First and foremost I was a police officer so I went to open the door to get out.
"One of the PCs, quite rightfully, said 'get out, make safe, go, shut the door,' which he did, and it was the right thing to do.
"That's when I thought, 'I have got to start putting everything we need in place.
"'We have got no protective equipment, no radio, I have got two colleagues with me who are quite distressed,' so we moved out."
Sir Craig told jurors it was his "instinct" to get out of the car, but he was in a short-sleeved shirt with no equipment following the ministerial meeting.
"I was conscious my two colleagues were not police officers. If anyone had got out, the way this Masood was looking, anyone who got in his way would have been a target," he said.
"I think anyone who came up against that individual would have faced serious, serious injury, if not death."