Three people and a terrorist are dead after an attacker brought carnage to central London today, mowing down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and hacking at police with knives in the grounds of the Houses of Parliament.
Around 20 people were hit when a 4×4 drove along the pavement on the crowded bridge, knocking down and seriously injuring pedestrians before crashing into a fence below Big Ben.
The killer, described by witnesses as ‘middle-aged and Asian’, then managed to break into the grounds of Parliament, where he fatally stabbed a police officer with two knives.
The policeman died at the scene. The attacker – who was shot at least twice by armed officers guarding the building – died after he was taken to hospital.
It is currently believed he was the only ‘lone wolf’ attacker, although the police have refused to rule out other people being involved. Around 20 pedestrians and three other police officers were injured.
Prime Minister Theresa May was bundled into her car by a plain-clothes police officer and driven quickly from the scene as the attack unfolded. She chaired a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra Committee tonight.
It is currently known that:
- One woman was killed on Westminster Bridge after a number of pedestrians were mowed down by a car.
- It is believed a second person was killed in the incident on the bridge.
- Another woman ended up in the Thames and was treated for serious injuries after being pulled from the water.
- A group of French schoolchildren were among those targeted on the bridge.
- The attacker jumped out the car and fatally stabbed a police officer in the grounds of the Palace of Westminster.
- The knifeman was shot dead moments later by another officer.
- Police are treating the incident as a terrorist attack.
- Prime Minister Theresa May will be chairing a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee.
Witness Jayne Wilkinson said: ‘We were taking photos of Big Ben and we saw all the people running towards us, and then there was an Asian guy in about his 40s carrying a knife about seven or eight inches long.
‘And then there were three shots fired, and then we crossed the road and looked over. The man was on the floor with blood.
‘He had a lightweight jacket on, dark trousers and a shirt. He was running through those gates, towards Parliament, and the police were chasing him.’
Her partner David Turner added: ‘There was a stampede of people running out. You saw the people and you thought ‘what the hell is going on’.’
Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood was among those who rushed to help the policeman who had been stabbed.
Mr Ellwood, who lost his brother in the Bali bombing, could be seen pumping the officer’s chest then standing above him, his hands and face smeared with blood.
Frazer Clarke, 25, from Burton-on-Trent, said: ‘We heard a loud bang and screaming and then I noticed some smoke. I thought it was a car crash.
‘I looked towards the front gate and people were running, a police officer and a fellow coming to the gate with two knives.
‘He was stabbing the police officer with the knives. He was wearing black tracksuit bottoms, a black of grey top and what looked like work boots. The police officer was stumbling and fell on the floor’.
Pat McCormack, 21, from Washington in Tyne-on-Wear added: ‘I saw him stabbing the officer in the back of the head and the back of the neck. He was running away but then he collapsed.’
Steve Voake, 55, was walking across the Westminster Bridge and saw at least two bodies lying on the road and one in the water.
‘I saw a trainer lying in the road and when I looked more closely I saw that there were a couple of bodies the other side of the road,’ he told the Press Association.
‘And when I looked over the side there was another body lying in the water with blood all around it.’