Keith Palmer, the unarmed policeman who was stabbed to death by a terrorist as he stood guard outside Parliament, has been described by Theresa May as "every inch a hero" whose "actions will never be forgotten". The 48-year-old husband and father was attacked by a man armed with two knives in the grounds of the Houses of Parliament. The assailant, who moments earlier had struck a number of pedestrians with a car on Westminster Bridge before crashing the vehicle into railings outside Parliament, was shot dead by armed police following the attack on the officer. Conservative MP James Cleverly, who served with PC Palmer in the Royal Artillery, described the officer as "a lovely man". A minute's silence was held nationwide at 9.33am, including in the Palace of Westminster and at New Scotland Yard, to commemorate the three innocent people killed in Wednesday's assault on Westminster. The time for the silence was chosen in honour of murdered police officer PC Palmer's shoulder number - 933.
The two other innocent victims have been named as teacher Aysha Frade and American tourist Kurt Cochrane. Around 40 people were injured - some critically - and thousands more will never forget their traumatic experiences.
Even as officers shouted for people to stay back in the immediate aftermath of the terror attack, Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood MP rushed forward to try to help the fallen police officer. The 51-year-old former Army officer fought to resuscitate PC Palmer, giving him mouth-to-mouth as he lay bleeding on the cobbled courtyard at the foot of the Houses of Parliament. But his fight was in vain. Mr Ellwood lost his own brother to terrorism: Jonathan, a teacher, was among the 200 people killed in the Bali bombings in 2002. The former captain in the Royal Green Jackets, who served in Kuwait, was hailed a hero for his actions. Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday morning, the Prime Minister paid tribute to Mr Ellwood's actions.
London's first Muslim Mayor, Sadiq Khan, commented “Terrorists want to attack London is because they hate the fact that we don’t just tolerate each other – whether you’re a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, member of an organised faith or not, we respect, embrace and celebrate each other and that’s going to carry on." And this morning life in London carried on. Assaults on democracy may continue but they will never achieve anything other than a deep repugnance for those who take part in such attacks.
PC Palmer's bravery and sad death are the headline news this morning, along with the deaths of Aysha Frade and Kurt Cochrane and the heroic actions of Tobias Ellwood MP. But what we must always remember is that, as with every terrorist attack, the police and other emergency services rushed towards the incident and the injured just as they shouted for members of the public to run in the opposite direction, away from the danger.
As the Prime Minister, Teresa May, said: "Yesterday we saw the worst of humanity but we will remember the best."