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Chief Coroner defends police commissioner coward Sir Craig Mackey over Westminster terror attack

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'Nothing he could have done': Chief Coroner at Westminster inquest DEFENDS 'Commissioner Coward' for hiding in car - as jury takes two hours to find Khalid Masood was lawfully killed during murderous rampage

  • Mark Lucraft QC defended deputy police commissioner Sir Craig Mackey today
  • Sir Craig locked himself in his car as Khalid Masood murdered PC Keith Palmer 
  • Chief Coroner said Sir Craig could not have helped the police officer's death  
  • He was summing up evidence at Westminster attacker's inquest in London
  • Jury took two hours and 22 minutes to conclude Masood, 52, was lawfully killed 

By Lara Keay For Mailonline

Published: 09:15 EDT, 12 October 2018 | Updated: 10:21 EDT, 12 October 2018

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Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood was lawfully killed after his murderous rampage, while a senior police officer was right to hide in his car while his colleague was stabbed to death, a coroner has ruled. 

It took a jury at Masood's Old Bailey inquest two hours and 22 minutes to conclude that armed police were right to shoot him dead. 

Meanwhile deputy police commissioner Sir Craig Mackey was widely condemned after admitting he hid in his vehicle while PC Keith Palmer was fatally stabbed outside Parliament that day. 

He told Masood's inquest he locked the doors with two civilian colleagues inside because they had no equipment.

Meanwhile the jihadi, 52, launched a ferocious attack, which killed PC Palmer and four others and seriously injured 29.

His actions strike a dramatic contrast to PC Wayne Marques, Constable Leon McLeod and Constable Charles Guenigault who faced the London Bridge terrorists head on a few months later and were given Queen's honours yesterday.

But summing up evidence at Masood's inquest, Mark Lucraft QC, said Sir Craig, 54, 'couldn't have done anything' to stop him on March 22 last year. 

Chief Coroner Mark Lucraft QC (pictured) defended the actions of deputy police commissioner Sir Craig Mackey after he hid in his car during the Westminster terror attack
Chief Coroner Mark Lucraft QC (pictured) defended the actions of deputy police commissioner Sir Craig Mackey after he hid in his car during the Westminster terror attack
Sir Craig Mackey has been widely condemned for his actions on social media with an altered image of him with his knighthood being shared with a feather instead
Sir Craig Mackey has been widely condemned for his actions on social media with an altered image of him with his knighthood being shared with a feather instead

Chief Coroner Mark Lucraft QC (pictured left) defended the actions of deputy police commissioner Sir Craig Mackey (pictured right) after he hid in his car during the Westminster terror attack 

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

He said none of the three occupants in the car had 'any means of protecting themselves or resisting an attack'.

An Old Bailey jury took two hours and 22 minutes to conclude Khalid Masood, 52, was lawfully killed by armed police last year 
An Old Bailey jury took two hours and 22 minutes to conclude Khalid Masood, 52, was lawfully killed by armed police last year 

An Old Bailey jury took two hours and 22 minutes to conclude Khalid Masood, 52, was lawfully killed by armed police last year 

'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,' he said.

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

He continued: 'Indeed, it's very likely that Masood would have been past the car even if Sir Craig had got out of it.

'It's also clear that after Masood had been shot, Sir Craig did not flee the scene: his first instinct was to get out in New Palace Yard, as we saw on the footage when he opened the car door.

'However, he was told by an officer to leave, and for good reason. 

'You may well think that it was important for the most senior police officer in the country to be at New Scotland Yard where he could take command and control of what, at that time, could potentially have been part of a much larger attack.'

A jury of seven men and four women found that Masood 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.

Terror: Officers are pictured surrounding attacker Khalid Masood outside the Palace of Westminster on March 22 last year 
Terror: Officers are pictured surrounding attacker Khalid Masood outside the Palace of Westminster on March 22 last year 

Terror: Officers are pictured surrounding attacker Khalid Masood outside the Palace of Westminster on March 22 last year 

Giving his account of events for the first time, deputy police commissioner Sir Craig Mackey said that he locked the doors and remained in his vehicle with two civilian colleagues because they had no personal protective equipment or a radio.

After Masood was shot dead, he tried to get out of the car but was advised by an officer on guard at the site to leave.

As acting commissioner at the time, he also had to co-ordinate the police response to the attack, he said. 

The inquest heard dramatic accounts of how unarmed police officers and members of the public fled after Masood killed PC Palmer and continued to advance, clutching bloodied foot-long knives.

As a stark contrast yesterday PC Wayne Marques, Constable Leon McLeod and Constables Charles Guenigault were honoured for their heroic efforts to help victims during the London Bridge attack in June 2017 yesterday 
As a stark contrast yesterday PC Wayne Marques, Constable Leon McLeod and Constables Charles Guenigault were honoured for their heroic efforts to help victims during the London Bridge attack in June 2017 yesterday 

As a stark contrast yesterday PC Wayne Marques, Constable Leon McLeod and Constables Charles Guenigault were honoured for their heroic efforts to help victims during the London Bridge attack in June 2017 yesterday 

His rampage was stopped by a close protection officer, identified only as SA74, who shot him three times with a Glock pistol.

The court was told the bodyguard shouted warnings to 'get back' with gun drawn before opening fire.

The close protection officer said he had stepped back but Masood kept on coming.

SA74 gave an emotional account of how the drama unfolded, pausing during his evidence and his voice wavering as he recalled: 'I was certain that something terrible was happening.'

'I saw a large black male running purposefully towards me. He was carrying two large knives and I could clearly see that they were covered in blood,' he told the Old Bailey. He was going to kill me.'

Jurors were shown dramatic footage of the the bodyguard and his colleague SB73 confronting the heavily built attacker, who slumped to the ground after he was shot. 

Amid fears he was wearing a suicide belt, Masood was handcuffed and given first aid by the marksman and his colleague.

Masood, who had sent a 'Jihadi' document moments before launching his attack, was later pronounced dead. 

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

The coroner found it was possible that PC Palmer may not have died if armed officers had been posted near the Carriage Gates. 

Chairman of the Sussex Police Federation Inspector Matt Webb (pictured) has hit out at Sir Craig Mackey and demanded his knighthood be taken from him 
Chairman of the Sussex Police Federation Inspector Matt Webb (pictured) has hit out at Sir Craig Mackey and demanded his knighthood be taken from him 

Chairman of the Sussex Police Federation Inspector Matt Webb (pictured) has hit out at Sir Craig Mackey and demanded his knighthood be taken from him 

The deputy commissioner Sir Craig Mackey was ridiculed on social media after giving his evidence, with an altered image with him holding his knighthood replaced by a white feather widely circulated.  

Today after Sir Craig was widely condemned Inspector Matt Webb, chairman of the Sussex Police Federation, called for Sir Craig to be stripped of his knighthood.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph he said: 'The reported actions of the Deputy Commissioner are in no way a reflection of the valour and sense of duty of the officers I work alongside, whom I represent, and who I am proud to call my friends.

'When it becomes clear that some one - and especially a fellow officer - needs assistance, it does not matter in what position you find yourself.

'The whole ethos of being a copper is that it is the right thing to go to their aid.'

Today however the chief coroner defended Sir Craig's actions, saying there is 'nothing he could have done to stop Masood'.

Sir Craig was knighted in the New Year's Honours and given the Queen's Police Medal in 2009.

He is stepping down from his role after 34 years in December, but Inspector Webb has demanded he quit immediately.

But Inspector Webb added: 'He should reconsider his position; not retire in December but go now. He should be stripped of his knighthood and QPM.' 

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By Shawn Arnette 12/10/2018 10:21:00