MP Tobias Ellwood broke down on television today as he recalled the moment he had to comfort his young son after he had desperately tried in vain to save the life of Pc Keith Palmer in the Palace of Westminster.
Mr Ellwood was in Parliament when terrorist Khalid Masood launched his sickening attack, mowing down and killing four pedestrians before stabbing unarmed Pc Palmer as he stood guard.
In an emotionally-charged interview one year on from the attack, the politician fought back tears as he recounted the conversation he had with his son in the wake of the atrocity.
Defence minister Tobias Ellwood pictured at the scene as he desperately tried to save PC Palmer
Khalid Masood (left) launched his sickening attack on March 22, 2017, mowing down and killing four pedestrians before stabbing unarmed Pc Palmer (right) as he stood guard
MPs observed a minute’s silence in memory of those killed in the 2017 Westminster terror attack in the House of Commons this morning
MEMORIALS TO HONOUR OFFICERS AND TERROR VICTIMS
Pc Palmer’s name will be one of 1,400 inscribed on a new UK Police Memorial commemorating officers killed on duty.
Another 4,000 of those who died on duty will be remembered inside the memorial in Staffordshire.
Plans have also been revealed for a memorial for victims and survivors of the four terrorist atrocities that took place in the city last year – at Westminster Bridge, London Bridge, Finsbury Park and Parsons Green.
Well-wishers will be able to leave messages in a digital book of hope at City Hall from today.
Members of the public will be able to send messages to the installation – which will remain open until June – using #LondonUnited on social media, and their words will be projected on to a map of the capital.
The phrase #LondonUnited will be projected on to the Houses of Parliament, London Bridge, Finsbury Park Mosque and Parsons Green Tube station on the anniversaries of the attacks.
Five innocent people were killed in Masood’s rampage – 48-year-old Pc Palmer, US tourist Kurt Cochran, Romanian tourist Andreea Cristea, 31, and Britons Aysha Frade, 44, and 75-year-old Leslie Rhodes, who were mown down on the bridge.
He told the BBC: ‘The other reflection and vivid image I have is returning home after what had happened and finding my son on the top of the stairs.
‘He was in tears and he was just on his own. I sat next to him and he just asked ‘why’?
‘He couldn’t understand why I had stepped forward, why someone had been killed, why someone was yielding a knife in a place that he had visited so many times.
‘And all I could offer him was that there are some bad people in the world but there are good people and it is the good people who win.’
Mr Ellwood’s fellow MPs stood and observed a minute’s silence in the House of Commons this morning in memory of those killed in the attack one year ago today.
And Pc Palmer’s friend has also paid tribute, saying he was ‘a proud and courageous police officer who did his job and never wanted any fuss.’
In a statement released through Scotland Yard, Pc Shaun Cartwright said: ‘Keith loved being a police officer, he just wanted to help people and do his best.
‘Keith was always happy, always the first to help anyone out, first in to work and the last one out.
‘He was a proud and courageous police officer who did his job and never wanted any fuss or to be the centre of attention.
‘Keith was a true and loyal friend, utterly reliable.
‘Most of all I will remember him as a family man who idolised his wife, daughter and his family; they’re the important ones that I think about a year on from the Westminster attack.’
This harrowing image of Mr Ellwood as he and members of the emergency services desperately tried to save Pc Palmer’s life became one of the defining images and a stark reminded of the atrocity
Pc Palmer (pictured posing for a photo at the Palace of Westminster), was ‘a proud and courageous police officer who did his job and never wanted any fuss’, his friend has said
Mr Ellwood, a former Army officer whose brother Jonathan was killed in the 2002 Bali terror atrocity, has paid tribute to the police for their work in a country ‘that seems to be getting more dangerous and more volatile’.
Mr Ellwood also spoke out on Good Morning Britain todayalso recounted the moment of the attack on ITV’s Lorraine.
The Defence Minister said the threats faced by the UK were not going away and involved not just terrorism but ‘resurgent nations challenging the world order’.
He also recounted the moment of the attack on ITV’s Lorraine.
He told the host today: ‘Huge respect to all police officers, because they don’t know how their day is going to unfold and they just go to work and get on with it.
‘I saw PC Keith Palmer lying there and could see he had lost a lot of blood and that’s when I stepped forward to try and help.
‘I just recall how professional the police were in moving into a situation where they were taking control and command of everything up to the silence of what is usually a busy place, until there was no-one around except for police.
This horrifying picture captured the moment Masood crashed his car on Westminster Bridge
One year from the attack, floral tributes and notes expressing messages of solidarity against terrorism, have been left on the bridge
‘Our thoughts and prayers are with PC Palmer’s friends and family. He did what he loved doing. He applied to stay on and do this work and loved every minute of it.
MET POLICE PAY TRIBUTE TO VICTIMS
The Metropolitan Police posted a message from Commissioner Cressida Dick today.
It read: ’22nd March 2017 is a day that remains vivid in many of our minds. Our thoughts are also with all those who died that day or whose lives were turned upside down.’
‘Aysha Frade; Keith Palmer; Kurt Cochran; Leslie Rhodes and Andreea Cristea. All of whom remain much loved and missed by their families and loved ones. Today it is only natural for many of us to stop and pause and remember in our own way.
‘The horror of that day was marked by acts of astonishing compassion and bravery as those who responded rushed to help the injured; to comfort those in distress and to bring calm to chaos.’
‘I know that today we will remember, those taken from us, those who were injured and all those that day has had a lasting impact on. We owe it to them to carry on with courage, professionalism and determination; to do our very best to prevent future attacks and keep people safe.’
‘We know these police officers well. They are part of the fabric of the community, so it is one of ours – it felt.
‘But there was this feeling that we will not be cowed by this. We will not let this affect us. Life goes on. The next day, Parliament did sit – we weren’t going to stop.
‘Likewise, these terrorist activities try to rip us apart but they do they do the opposite. It makes us more determined that we are going to stand up to this.
‘When we go back to when I first became aware of terrorism was the loss of my brother in 2002 (in the Bali bombings).
‘Fifteen years ago and today these attacks are still taking place. We are going through a very dangerous and volatile period.
‘We are at a pivotal moment and ask ‘do we just look after ourselves?’ Or do we see where things are going wrong. Al Shabab or Boko Haram or Al Qaeda – all these flourish where there isn’t any governance.
Not only that, the religion of Islam itself is being used – a peaceful religion – these terrorists have scant understanding of it and think they are going to paradise for what they do and that’s the work that we need to embark on.
There is a determination that we will not be defeated. And we walk by that location every day – it’s right by the main entrance so all MPs are very conscious. Let’s not forget Jo Cox was killed by an extremist too and her plaque is inside the chamber itself which we all look at.
We live in a very dangerous world and it’s up to us to work out the strategy we’re going to hold in order to stand up to our values which we’ve spent decades, millennia, developing.
That’s what we need to remember. We will not be defeated by these terrorist. We will move forward and be positive – and that’s the message that I told my son.