Lawyer representing victims' families condemns 'shortcomings' in security after Westminster attack rulings

Victims' lawyer condemns 'shortcomings' in security after Westminster attack rulings

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Patrick Maguire, has said it is not any consolation that PC Keith Palmer could have been saved, but it does give his widow “a better understanding of what happened”.

Mr Maguire who was representing the families of victims from the Westminster terror attack in 2016 told talkRADIO’s Eamonn Holmes: “It is not any consolation but what it does do in relation to Michelle Palmer, Keith’s widow, it now gives her a better understanding of what happened and why it happened.

“I think we have to remember that it was the evil and cowardly actions of Khalid Masood that unlawfully killed all five of the victims in the attack.

“In relation to PC Keith Palmer, I think the coroner has today stated that shortcomings in the system and the supervision of the officers could have prevented this from happening.

“So as far as PC Palmer’s widow, Michelle Palmer is concerned it is an acknowledgement that there was some shortcomings which could have saved his life.”


‘Due to shortcomings’

Photos issued by the Metropolitan Police of the victims of the Westminster Bridge terror attack (left to right) PC Keith Palmer, Aysha Frade, Leslie Rhodes, Andreea Cristea and Kurt Cochran

The widow of PC Keith Palmer has criticised "lax security" at the Palace of Westminster as a coroner found his death may have been prevented.

Michelle Palmer said her husband was left "alone, unarmed, guarding an open gate" when he was stabbed by a marauding terrorist armed with two foot-long knives.

The inquest had heard how the two armed officers tasked with patrolling New Palace Yard had been nowhere near Carriage Gates for nearly an hour before the attack.

Khalid Masood, 52, had targeted the unarmed police officers guarding Parliament after mowing down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in a hired car, killing four.

Following a four-week inquest at the Old Bailey, Chief Coroner Mark Lucraft QC found all five victims had been "unlawfully killed" by Masood.

In his conclusions, he said: "Due to shortcomings in the security system at New Palace Yard, including the supervision of those engaged in such duties, the armed officers were not aware of a requirement to remain in close proximity to the gates.

"Had they been stationed there it is possible that they may have been able to prevent Pc Palmer suffering fatal injuries."

Masood was eventually shot dead by a plain clothes close protection officer.


‘He was left at a vulnerable location’

Mrs Palmer issued a statement saying: "How could Keith have been left alone, unarmed, guarding an open gate at one of the most iconic buildings in the world and one of the country's top terrorist targets?

"He was left at a vulnerable location with no protection to die.

"The fact there were no firearms officers there for nearly an hour is hard to believe.

"I truly believe that if they had been there he would still be here today and Amy wouldn't have lost her daddy."

She added: "What is so disappointing is that the police haven't been very open about their investigation in relation to the security arrangements at the Palace of Westminster.

"They have been very slow to get to the bottom of how this was allowed to happen.

"What makes it even worse is that this lax security had been carrying on for years and it has taken what happened to Keith for things to change."


‘One of the most iconic locations in the world’

Mr Maguire added that when he met PC Palmer’s widow, Mrs Palmer, she told him she wanted two things out of the inquest.

He said: “When I first met Michelle there were two things that she wanted to get out of this.

“Number one, to better understand how her husband who was an unarmed officer standing guard at one of the most iconic locations in the world, was unprotected.

“She now understands that and secondly, to ensure no other police officer or anyone goes through the same trauma that she and her daughter have been through over the last 18 months.”