PC Keith Palmer's family: Westminster attack victim 'a friend to everyone'

Philip Whiteside and Bethany Minelle, News Reporters

The police officer stabbed to death by a terrorist while protecting Parliament was "a friend to everyone", his family have said.

PC Keith Palmer, who confronted Khalid Masood inside the gates of the Palace of Westminster, was described by Theresa May as "every inch a hero".

The Prime Minister told the Commons the actions of the officer, who attempted to stop the knife-wielding attacker despite being unarmed, "will never be forgotten".

A statement from the family of the 48-year-old husband and father of a five-year-old daughter said he will be "deeply missed".

It read: "Keith will be remembered as a wonderful dad and husband. A loving son, brother and uncle. A long-time supporter of Charlton FC.

"Dedicated to his job and proud to be a police officer, brave and courageous.

"A friend to everyone who knew him. He will be deeply missed. We love him so much.

"His friends and family are shocked and devastated by his loss and ask that they are left to grieve alone in peace."

:: Westminster attacker named

Masood, 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".

He said: "I'm heartbroken. My thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of PC Keith Palmer. A brave man."

It has been confirmed that the officer's name will be added to the Police Roll of Honour.

:: Westminster attack: How the terror unfolded

A minute's silence was held nationwide at 9.33am, including in the Palace of Westminster and at New Scotland Yard, to commemorate the innocent people killed in Wednesday's attack.

The time for the silence was chosen in honour of PC Palmer's shoulder number - 933.

Several crowdfunding pages have also been set up to support the family of the fallen officer, including a Just Giving page which exceeded its £200,000 target within hours.

A colleague of PC Palmer's, PC James Aitkenhead, also paid tribute, saying: "Keith was a genuinely nice person, nobody had a bad word to say about him.

"When I heard what had happened I knew it would be him, because that's just the sort of guy he was, to step straight in when others might step back."

An Australian tourist who asked PC Palmer to pose for pictures when his family visited the Houses of Parliament last year, Andrew Thorogood, described the officer as "a genuinely nice bloke" who was "happy to chat and smile for a photo... whilst still remaining vigilant".

In another tribute, Met Police deputy commissioner Mark Rowley said: "He was someone who left for work today expecting to return home at the end of his shift - and he had every right to expect that would happen."

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the officer "personifies the brave men and women of our police and emergency services who work around the clock to keep us safe".

Charlton Athletic Football Club also paid tribute to PC Palmer by placing a red and white scarf on the seat he used to sit in.

Four people are so far confirmed to have died in the attack as well as the attacker - PC Palmer, Aysha Frade, American Kurt Cochran and a 75-year-old man who had his life-support turned off a day after being injured.

Police say 29 people have been injured, some of whom were said to have sustained "catastrophic injuries". Seven people remain in a critical condition.

Three police officers who were on their way back from a commendation ceremony were also injured on the bridge. Two of them are in a serious condition.

A number of different nationalities have been injured in the attack, including 12 Britons, three French children on a school trip, two Romanians, four South Koreans, one German, one Polish national, one Irish citizen, one Chinese national, one Italian, one American and two Greeks.

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