Wearside boxer: I saw policeman stabbed in Westminster attack

Pat McCormack, inset, was at Westminster at the time of attack
Pat McCormack, inset, was at Westminster at the time of attack

A Wearside boxer has spoken of his shock and horror after witnessing a policeman being stabbed during today's attack outside of the Palace of Westminster.

Pat McCormack was among a group from Great British Boxers who were leaving a press conference ahead of the World Series Boxing event against Italy in York Hall on Thursday when they came face to face with the alleged assailant.

Police forensic officers on Westminster Bridge, close to 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.

Police forensic officers on Westminster Bridge, close to 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.

A police officer and a pedestrian have been killed after a knifeman brought terror to the heart of Westminster.

For the latest on the terror attack, click here...

The attacker, armed with two large knives, mowed down pedestrians with his car on Westminster Bridge, including schoolchildren, then rushed at the gates in front of the Houses of Parliament, stabbing a policeman before he was shot by armed officers.

Eyewitnesses described scenes of terror when gunfire rang out as the attacker approached a second officer within yards of the Houses of Parliament.

Wearside boxer Pat McCormack

Wearside boxer Pat McCormack

Paramedics fought to save his life and that of his police victim on the floor of the cobbled courtyard in front of Parliament, with Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood among those who rushed to help.

The police officer was wheeled away on a stretcher with his face covered and sources later confirmed he had died.

Boxer Pat, 21, from Washington, who was part of the Great Britain team at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, said: "We were just coming out when I heard a huge bang and a car smashed into the fence.

"A man got out and ran around to the gate to come in. He had a beard and a bald head and he pulled out two big knives, what looked like kitchen knives. People were starting to run, we were just stood there stunned.

"I saw him stabbing the officer in the back of the head and the back of the neck.

"He was running away but then he collapsed.

"I wasn't scared. I just couldn't believe what was happening.

"The man then started to come towards we were, which was only about ten metres away, but there were other people and police in front of us.

"There was then three shots and the man hit the ground. Then there were police everywhere. We were then ushered back inside. We just couldn't believe what was happening."

The group of boxers were among the hundreds of people being held in the lobby during the security alert.

Frazer Clarke, 25, from Burton-on-Trent, was walking to the coach with his teammates when he witnessed the horror.

He told the Press Association: "We heard a loud bang and screaming and then I noticed some smoke. I thought it was a car crash.

"I looked towards the front gate and people were running, a police officer and a fellow coming to the gate with two knives.

"He was stabbing the police officer with the knives.

"He was wearing black tracksuit bottoms, a black or grey top and what looked like work boots.

"The police officer was stumbling and fell on the floor.

"Another police officer walked toward the guy with the knives and shot him twice. I didn't think they were proper bullets, they seemed like rubber bullets.

"Then people started shouting at us to get inside.

"Time stood still and I was shocked. The first thing I thought was this was a terrorist attack.

"It all happened so fast."

One woman hit by the attacker's car before he reached Parliament was confirmed dead by a doctor at St Thomas' Hospital. Others on the bridge suffered 'catastrophic injuries'.

Another woman who apparently fell into the Thames was rescued and given urgent medical treatment on a nearby pier. London Ambulance Service said paramedics had treated at least 10 patients on Westminster Bridge.

A party of French schoolchildren were among those targeted on the bridge, with three injured.

Downing Street said Prime Minister Theresa May, who was ushered away from Parliament after the attack, was chairing a meeting of the Government's emergency Cobra committee.

Commander BJ Harrington of the Metropolitan Police said there were "a number of casualties" in the attack "including police officers". He urged Londoners to be vigilant, said more officers would be on patrol and that anti-terrorism measures were being reviewed.

The knifeman drove a grey Hyundai i40 across Westminster Bridge before crashing it into railings then running through the gates of the Palace of Westminster.

His attack left a trail of destruction as paramedics tended to victims on the bridge and at the gate.

Mrs May was seen being ushered into a silver Jaguar in the grounds of the palace as what sounded like gunfire rang out at around 2.45pm.