The bodyguard who shot and killed Westminster attacker Khalid Masood feared the terrorist was going to kill him, an inquest heard.
The close protection officer held back tears in court as he told how he was “certain that something terrible was happening” as the rampage unfolded.
Masood rammed a hired 4x4 into pedestrians on Westminster bridge in the attack, which killed five people, on March 22 last year.
He then crashed the car into the perimeter fence of the Houses of Parliament before running onto the grounds and stabbing PC Keith Palmer to death.
The officer, known by his call sign SA74, became emotional as he described the events leading up to the moment he opened fire three times.
He said: “Immediately in front of me I was aware of shouts which I perceived and understood to be of police officers – they are very distinctive – and what we are taught from our training.
“I was also aware of a number of uniformed police and members of the public running back towards me.”
He said Masood was given “clear commands of ‘Get back’”.
He went on: “The uniformed police had batons drawn. The batons were extended and they were frantically moving towards me trying to get away from something or someone.
“I did not know what was happening but I was certain that something terrible was happening.”
His voice trembled as he continued: “I saw a large black male running purposefully towards me. He was carrying two large knives and I could clearly see that they were covered in blood.
“I shouted at him to drop the knife or drop the knives, I don’t remember the precise words I used. It had no effect. He continued to move towards me.
“He was going to kill me.”
With his Glock pistol drawn, the bodyguard took a few steps backwards but Masood continued to approach him.
“After shouting at him to drop the knives and seeing no change in his demeanour I fired my pistol. It was a quick succession of shots fired until that threat was no longer present,” he said.
I shouted at him to drop the knife or drop the knives...he continued to move towards me. He was going to kill me SA74, the bodyguard who shot Khalid Masood
The close protection officer was one of two who gave evidence at the Old Bailey anonymously and from behind a screen.
Another bodyguard, known only as SB73, told jurors how he first became alerted to the attack when he heard a “crash bang”.
He said: “It sounded like a car crash. I started hearing shouting and screaming from the direction of where the crash had been.
“We started moving towards the gates.”
The marksman told the Old Bailey: “There was obviously something going on with the shouting and screaming and panic that was around in the air.
“There were lots of people running towards us at that stage. My colleague shouted ‘knife’.”
They saw Masood with a large kitchen knife in each hand, four to five metres away and walking fast towards them.
“I thought he would seriously injure or kill one or both of us,” the officer said.
“My colleague fired a number of shots which stopped the male. I heard the shots and the male slumped to the ground.”
Afterwards, the officer told how he moved forward to handcuff the man with a police constable.
The witness said he noticed Masood had two gunshot wounds to the torso.
Jonathan Hough QC, for the coroner, said: “Is it right to say there was a risk given the circumstances he might have a bomb?”
The officer, who went on to give Masood first aid, agreed.
The inquest continues.