Gun police ‘would have needed luck to foil Westminster terror attack,’ inquest hears

Armed police would have needed “luck” to be in the right place to tackle an intruder at Parliament, the Westminster terror attack inquest heard today.

Khalid Masood, 52, rushed into the Parliamentary grounds and stabbed Pc Keith Palmer to death having mown down and killed four pedestrians with his car on Westminster Bridge.

The inquest has heard armed police patrolling Parliament had been in-structed to prioritise the safety of ministers and MPs over police colleagues.

Pc Lee Ashby and Pc Nicholas Sanders, armed officers on duty on the day of the attack, spent no more than 14 minutes at Carriage Gates during the 108 minutes before Masood struck.

Today Pc Sanders told the Old Bailey he and his colleagues were instructed to conduct roving patrols rather than stay at fixed locations, and they “didn’t have any specific obligation” to Carriage Gates.

Asked if it would be down to “luck” if armed officers were present when an attacker struck, he replied: “We could have been anywhere at any time in the sector ... It’s a case of where anything happens in that sector, being in the right place at the right time.” He added: “We can’t be in four places at once.”

Both officers say orders from January 2015, to be in “close proximity” to Carriage Gates, were not passed to them.

The inquest continues into the victims’ deaths on March 22 last year.

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