4th October 2018
Dominic Adamson acted for the widows of Kurt Cochran and PC Keith Palmer in the Inquests into the Westminster Terrorist attack on 22 March 2017. The hearing concluded on 3 October 2018 having lasted for 3 ½ weeks. Kurt Cochran was an American tourist who, along with his wife, was struck on the bridge by the vehicle driven by the Khalid Masood. PC Keith Palmer was stabbed to death by Khalid Masood after he had managed to gain access into New Palace Yard through the Carriage Gates at the Palace of Westminster. His Honour Judge Lucraft QC, the Chief Coroner, made clear in his summary of the evidence that both Kurt Cochran, who had pushed his wife away from the vehicle which had mounted the kerb, and PC Keith Palmer, who had confronted the attacker, had behaved
with courage and bravery. Both were unlawfully killed.
In the inquest into PC Palmer’s death, the Chief Coroner ruled that before the start of the attack, the armed officers stationed at New Palace Yard had not been in close proximity to the Carriage Gates entrance to New Palace Yard. They had been some distance away and out of view of the entrance because they had understood their duty to involve a roving patrol around the yard. In fact, tactical advice and written instructions stated that armed officers should be stationed close to the Carriage Gates entrance so as to protect those in the estate and their unarmed colleagues who were at the gates.
The Chief Coroner accepted the submission advanced on behalf of PC Palmer’s widow that Article 2 ECHR was engaged. He concluded that due to shortcomings in the security system at New Palace Yard, including the supervision of those engaged in such duties, the armed officers were not aware of a requirement to remain in close proximity to the gates. He concluded that had they been stationed there they may have been able to prevent PC Palmer suffering fatal injuries.