London attack: Five dead and policeman stabbed as knifeman brings terror to Westminster

  • WHAT WE KNOW: Three shots heard outside Westminster
  • Policeman stabbed and his attacker shot
  • Two people treated on the ground
  • Five reported mown down by car on Westminster Bridge
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FIVE people have died after a knifeman brought terror to the heart of Westminster, mowing down pedestrians then stabbing a policeman before being shot by armed officers.

The police officer who died was named last night as Keith Palmer, who had 15 years of service.

The 48-year-old husband and father was stabbed by a man armed with two large knives inside the grounds of the Houses of Parliament.

Eyewitnesses described scenes of terror when gunfire rang out as the attacker approached a second officer within yards of the Houses of Parliament.

Paramedics fought to save his life and that of his victim on the floor of the cobbled courtyard in front of Parliament with Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood among those who rushed to help. Two large knives could be seen at the scene.

• One pedestrian hit by the attacker’s car before he reached Parliament was confirmed dead by a doctor at St Thomas’ Hospital.

• Others on the bridge suffered ‘catastrophic injuries’.

• At least one of the people being treated in the palace courtyard was wheeled away on a stretcher with their face covered.

• Another woman who apparently jumped into the Thames as the attacker drove across the bridge was rescued and given urgent medical treatment on a nearby pier.

• London Ambulance Service said paramedics had treated at least 10 patients on Westminster Bridge.

PC Keith Palmer

PC Keith Palmer

• A party of French schoolchildren were among those targeted on the bridge.

• Downing Street said Prime Minister Theresa May, who was ushered away from Parliament after the attack, was chairing a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee.

• Commander BJ Harrington of the Metropolitan Police said there were “a number of casualties” in the attack “including police officers”. He urged Londoners to be vigilant, said more officers would be on patrol and that anti-terrorism measures were being reviewed.

The knifeman drove a grey Hyundai i40 across Westminster Bridge before crashing it into railings then running through the gates of the Palace of Westminster.

Emergency services attend a man and a police officer outside the Palace of Westminster

Emergency services attend a man and a police officer outside the Palace of Westminster

His attack left a trail of destruction as paramedics tended to victims on the bridge and at the gate.

Mrs May was seen being ushered into a silver Jaguar in the grounds of the palace as what sounded like gunfire rang out at around 2.45pm.

Eyewitness Rick Longley described the attack.

“We were just walking up to the station and there was a loud bang and a guy, someone, crashed a car and took some pedestrians out.

“They were just laying there and then the whole crowd just surged around the corner by the gates just opposite Big Ben.

“A guy came past my right shoulder with a big knife and just started plunging it into the policeman.

Emergency services attend a man and a police officer outside the Palace of Westminster

Emergency services attend a man and a police officer outside the Palace of Westminster

“I have never seen anything like that. I just can’t believe what I just saw.”

Prime Minister Theresa May was seen being ushered into a silver Jaguar in the grounds of the palace as what sounded like gunfire rang out at around 2.45pm.

A Downing Street source confirmed she was “OK”.

Eyewitness Rick Longley described the attack.

“We were just walking up to the station and there was a loud bang and a guy, someone, crashed a car and took some pedestrians out.

“They were just laying there and then the whole crowd just surged around the corner by the gates just opposite Big Ben.

“A guy came past my right shoulder with a big knife and just started plunging it into the policeman.

“I have never seen anything like that. I just can’t believe what I just saw.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “There has been a serious incident near to Parliament Square this afternoon which is being treated as a terrorist attack until the police know otherwise.

“I have spoken to the Acting Commissioner. The Metropolitan Police Service is dealing with the incident and an urgent investigation is under way. My thoughts are with those affected and their families.

“I would like to express my thanks to the police and emergency services who work so hard to keep us safe and show tremendous bravery in exceptionally difficult circumstances.

Kate Langston, The Yorkshire Post’s Parliamentary Correspondent, said: “I was in Portcullis House to interview someone and was making my way back to my office when the police started shouting at everyone to take cover and they moved us back into the building.

“There was a lot of panic initially but it has calmed down a little now. It sounds like there were three separate incidents, one on Westminster Bridge and one in Parliament Square.

“The whole of Westminster seems to be in lock down.”

An air ambulance landed in Parliament Square and a regular ambulance came in through the front gates as medics rushed to help.

Armed police cleared the area around the incident and Parliament Square and surrounding streets were closed to traffic while Parliament went into lockdown.

As the sitting in the House of Commons was suspended, Commons Leader David Lidington told MPs: “What I am able to say to the House is there has been a serious incident within the estate.

“It seems that a police officer has been stabbed, that the alleged assailant was shot by armed police.”

Witnesses described seeing a heavy-set man carrying a knife and running towards the Houses of Parliament.

Jayne Wilkinson said: “We were taking photos of Big Ben and we saw all the people running towards us, and then there was an Asian guy in about his 40s carrying a knife about seven or eight inches long.

“And then there were three shots fired, and then we crossed the road and looked over. The man was on the floor with blood.

“He had a lightweight jacket on, dark trousers and a shirt.

“He was running through those gates, towards Parliament, and the police were chasing him.”

Her partner David Turner added: “There was a stampede of people running out.

“You saw the people and you thought ‘what the hell is going on’.”

A witness, who did not want to be named, saw Mrs May and her undercover police detail near the area of Parliament where ministerial cars are parked.

He said there were undercover officers in a 4x4 vehicle in the car park.

“We just heard gunshots inside Parliament,” he said.

“It looked like they are taking her away.”

Another witness, from South Africa and living in Ireland, said she and two friends went towards the palace gates and saw a man lying on the floor inside.

She said: “I saw a body, they were working on the floor. They were just inside the gates.

“He had one gunshot wound to the right side of his chest. I don’t know if he was dead or alive, but people were working on him.

“I saw that needed medical attention and I asked if I could help because I am a doctor, but they said they were fine.

“Then the police moved us back.”

Video grab taken from BBC News of the scene at the Palace of Westminster, after a policeman was stabbed and his apparent attacker shot

Video grab taken from BBC News of the scene at the Palace of Westminster, after a policeman was stabbed and his apparent attacker shot

Police outside the Palace of Westminster, London, after sounds similar to gunfire have been heard

Police outside the Palace of Westminster, London, after sounds similar to gunfire have been heard

Emergency services close to the Palace of Westminster

Emergency services close to the Palace of Westminster

Police close to the Palace of Westminster, London, after sounds similar to gunfire were heard close to the Palace of Westminster.

Police close to the Palace of Westminster, London, after sounds similar to gunfire were heard close to the Palace of Westminster.

Police outside the Palace of Westminster, London, after sounds similar to gunfire have been heard

Police outside the Palace of Westminster, London, after sounds similar to gunfire have been heard

Police outside the Palace of Westminster, London, after sounds similar to gunfire have been heard

Police outside the Palace of Westminster, London, after sounds similar to gunfire have been heard

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