Tobias Elwood: 'Hero' of London terror attack describes desperate struggle to save policeman outside Parliament

Tory MP says he headed towards the incident 'as soon as' he realised what was going on and made extensive efforts to save the officer — describing his eventual death as a 'huge tragedy'

May Bulman@maybulman
Thursday 23 March 2017 13:09
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Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood (centre) helps emergency services attend to a police officer outside the Palace of Westminster, London, after a policeman was stabbed and his apparent attacker shot by officers in a major security incident at the Houses of Parliament
Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood (centre) helps emergency services attend to a police officer outside the Palace of Westminster, London, after a policeman was stabbed and his apparent attacker shot by officers in a major security incident at the Houses of Parliament

A Conservative MP has spoken of his desperate struggle to rescue the policeman who died after being stabbed during the attack on Westminster on Wednesday.

Tobias Ellwood, a foreign office minister who served in the British Army and reached the rank of captain, said he headed towards the incident “as soon as” he realised what was going on, but that despite extensive efforts by him and others to save the officer, his blood loss left little chance of survival.

The police officer was fatally stabbed outside Parliament following a deadly rampage across Westminster Bridge, during which the attacker mounted the pavement and ploughed his car into pedestrians, killing two and injuring dozens of others.

Images of the chaotic scenes outside Westminster Palace appeared to show Mr Ellwood, 50, leaning over the victim with his two arms extended as paramedics and police crowded around.

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood stands amongst the emergency services at the scene outside the Palace of Westminster, London, after policeman has been stabbed and his apparent attacker shot by officers in a major security incident at the Houses of Parliament

The MP for Bournemouth East, who lost his brother in the Bali bombing, attempted to perform mouth-to-mouth on the officer and could be seen pumping the officer's chest then standing above him, his hands and face smeared with blood.

He remained with the victim while an air ambulance landed on nearby Parliament Square. The officer, later named as 48-year-old husband and father Keith Palmer, was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Speaking to The Sun following the incident, Mr Ellwood said: “It is now murder. I was on the scene and as soon as I realised what was going on I headed towards it. It is a huge tragedy, it really is.

“I tried to stem the flow of blood and give mouth-to-mouth while waiting for the medics to arrive but I think he had lost too much blood. He had multiple wounds, under the arm and in the back. It’s very sad.”

The MP added that he wasn't able to disclose details because he was a witness, saying: "I was the last one on the scene before he died, so I am not allowed to say anything."

He later told The Times: “What a mad world.”

The foreign minister's actions have been described as "heroic" by his Westminster colleagues. Following the incident, Conservative MP Ben Howlett tweeted: “Tobias Ellwood is an absolute hero for what he did to help the policeman this afternoon!”

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron meanwhile said: “Today, Tobias gave MPs a good name. He was utterly heroic, pure and simple. He went above and beyond and did all he could to save a police officer."

Theresa May paid tribute to the MP’s “extraordinary efforts”, and there have been calls for him to be given an honour for his efforts.

In the House of Commons on Thursday, Mr Ellwood shook his head as Matthew Offord, MP for Hendon, called for him to be recognised in the honours list.

Responding to the suggestion, Ms May said: “I think proper consideration will be given to the issue that you raise,” adding that she had spoken to Mr Ellwood on Wednesday evening.

"I think we should all recognise that not only did he show huge professionalism in putting his past training to the use and the hope that he had of rescuing the life of PC Keith Palmer,” the Prime Minister continued.

"But of course, it was in the middle of a terrorist attack and our right honourable friend is somebody who knows the trauma and tragedy of losing somebody in a terrorist attack."

Mr Ellwood, whose brief in the Foreign Office includes the Middle East, Africa and counter terrorism, said Number 10 had been in touch with him about the incident.

The former soldier lost his brother in the Bali terrorist bombings in 2002, which killed 202 people, when the second of two blasts tore through a nightclub.

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