Sword man arrested at the Palace

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The Independent Online

A sword-waving attacker armed with an axe and 12-inch knife was wrestled to the ground by police within yards of Buckingham Palace, it emerged today.

A sword-waving attacker armed with an axe and 12-inch knife was wrestled to the ground by police within yards of Buckingham Palace, it emerged today.

The man managed to drive in to a cordoned-off area between two police vehicles outside the palace railings before emerging from his Opel Manta sports car armed with the 3ft sword and shouting incoherently.

Three officers pounced on the man, dressed in black military-style clothing, after he had driven into the area surrounding the Victoria Monument at the top The Mall shortly after 5pm last night.

The man, described as black and middle-aged, was taken to Charing Cross police station. He will remain in custody after it is understood a doctor declared he was not fit for questioning.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said: "A marked police car drove into an area around the memorial which is normally cordoned-off to traffic on Sundays and was followed in by a blue Opel Manta car.

"The Manta was in turn followed in by a Royal Parks police van. All three vehicles stopped and as the officers approached the car a man got out holding a sword with a 3ft blade, swinging it aloft.

"The officers could also see a single headed axe, a dagger and a hunting knife with a 12-inch blade in the man's belt. He was shouting incoherently but officers managed to restrain and disarm him."

No-one was hurt in the fracas, which happened after the man had reportedly been spotted kneeling in adjoining St James's Park before getting into his car, apparently with a flashing light on its roof, and driving up The Mall.

Witnesses described how the man had struggled with officers in front of stunned tourists.

Student Suzy Cox, 22, told The Daily Mail: "He was really struggling and very aggressive. It took three officers quite a bit of time to get him under control and when you thought they had got hold of him, he would spring up again."

Officers, who found a further four knives inside the Manta, said it was unclear whether the man had planned to enter the palace grounds.

It is understood that no members of the Royal Family were in residence at the time.

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