17/09/2018 13:50 BST | Updated 17/09/2018 15:11 BST

Westminster Attack: Tobias Ellwood Fights Back Tears As He Tells Inquest How He Tried To Save PC's Life

Tobias Ellwood closed PC Keith Palmer's eyes and told him: "I'm sorry."

An MP fought back tears as he told of the moment he stepped forward to try and save the life of a stricken police officer following the Westminster Bridge rampage, despite concerns of a secondary attack.

Tobias Ellwood, an ex-soldier, ignored fears that attacker Khalid Masood may have had a bomb in his car as he rushed to perform CPR on PC Keith Palmer, an inquest at the Old Bailey heard.

The officer, 48, died after being stabbed by Masood.

Moments before PC Palmer’s death, Masood killed Kurt Cochran, 54, Leslie Rhodes, 75, Aysha Frade, 44, and Andreea Cristea, 31, when he ploughed an SUV into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge.

MP Tobias Ellwood stands amongst the emergency services at the scene outside the Palace of Westminster, London

The Bournemouth East MP told the hearing: “My brother was killed in a secondary attack in Bali (a 2002 terrorist bombing in Indonesia) … so I was very aware of that.

“I was concerned about what would happen if things were to ratchet up, but my immediate concern was that we had somebody who was clearly badly bleeding and needed assistance.”

Ellwood said he was first alerted to the attack when he heard a “significant crash” followed by “screams of shock”.

“These were not screams of pain, they were screams of shock, which is slightly different,” he said.

The Tory MP then saw two waves of people with “panic in their eyes” as he made his way to Parliament through the underground passageway.

PA Wire/PA Images
Westminster attacker Khalid Masood

“They were shouting, ‘go, go, go, go’ and, ‘go back, go back’,” he said, before his attention was drawn to the area where PC Palmer was attacked.

He said: “My first observation was the number of armed officers that were pointing their weapons towards Carriage Gates.

“I have never seen so many armed officers with their weapons out in the Houses of Parliament.

“Some, I think, were crouching in positions of protection, but all were aiming their weapons towards Carriage Gates.

“I could see there were two bodies lying in the ground and activity around both of them.

“The nearest one was clearly a police officer, with other officers attempting to give him support.”

Armed police officers stand guard, as forensics officers work around the vehicle Khalid Masood crashed into the railings outside the Palace of Westminster

Ellwood said he stepped forward and identified himself to the armed officers, ignoring the risk to his own safety to help administer first aid.

He said he assessed the officer’s wounds before beginning CPR, which he continued after paramedics and doctors from the helicopter ambulance team arrived.

Becoming emotional as he recalled the dramatic events when doctors arrived on the scene, he said: “Forgive me, it’s sometimes easier to do the helping rather than to talk about it afterwards.”

When it became clear that PC Palmer would not survive, Ellwood told a doctor present:  “You’re going to have to order me to stop”.

The medic said: “Sir, you’ve done your best but you do need to stop.”

He described the “eerie silence” at the Palace of Westminster as it stayed in lockdown in the aftermath of the carnage.

Ellwood and one other person were left with the officer’s body.

He said: “We both covered the body as best we could, closed the eyes and I said: ‘I’m sorry.’

“It was very, very silent, it was a very strange end to a very traumatic four or five minutes, to suddenly be left completely alone with just one other person.”