by Vanessa Allen, Ben Spencer, and Martin Robinson
Holding a blade to his own throat, this was the moment a knifeman brought chaos to the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace yesterday.
Talhat Rehman, 54, of Harrow, has been charged with possessing a bladed weapon in public and affray, and will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court today.
The middle-aged man walked through crowds of tourists clutching two large kitchen knives before police surrounded him and used a Taser stun gun to disarm him.
As a policeman shouted a warning call of ‘Taser, Taser, Taser’ to his colleagues, the knifeman allegedly lunged forward, brandishing a six-inch blade in a series of swipes, before falling to the floor as he was stunned by the electrical charge.
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Dramatic: Police officers tasered Talhat Rehman to the ground outside the Palace last year
Scary: The dramatic incident saw the 54-year-old brandish two knives in front of hundreds of terrified tourists last February
Down: The knifeman charged towards a police officer outside Buckingham Palace who fired a taser gun at him
A video showed Mr Rehman shouting and holding the knife to his throat as he walked past the Victoria Memorial, towards the gates of the palace.
Police officers shouted to tourists to keep away from the man as they raced to surround him.
The Harrow man, who clutched a set of wooden beads and wore a flat woollen hat similar to the pakuls traditionally worn by men in parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, was later arrested.
The drama unfolded as crowds gathered outside the palace before the midday Changing of the Guard ceremony, one of London’s most popular tourist attractions.
Witnesses described seeing the bespectacled man breaking through a barrier and walking towards the palace before he was stopped and surrounded by police.
VIDEO Man holds knife to throat before being tasered at Buckingham Palace
The moment: This photo (unpixelated at source) was posted on Twitter by Josh Greenberg, captioned: ‘Another photo from #Buckingham palace moments ago – Male with a #knife to his neck #Tasered by #Police’
Police response: Twitter user Josh Greenberg also posted this picture from outside Buckingham Palace
Eyewitness Kevin Burrows, 33, said: ‘He had a knife in each hand.
‘The police were on him in seconds, he didn’t have a chance of getting close to anyone.
‘They surrounded him, they were telling him to calm down, and then a policeman Tasered him.’ Mr Burrows, a kitchen porter from Surbiton, Surrey, added: ‘The police were fantastic, it was all over in minutes. The procession was diverted away from him and the band just kept playing.’
Left behind: Knives, a hat and taser wire in an cordoned off area outside Buckingham Palace in central London
On the ground: A pair of trainers and a backpack in a cordoned off area outside Buckingham Palace in London
On scene: Twitter user LondonPRGuru posted these pictures of the aftermath of the incident in central London
Police standing guard: A cordoned off area containing knives, a hat and taser wire outside Buckingham Palace
Witnesses have said the band played on as the chaos unfolded
Another witness, Grant Shepherd, filmed the incident and put it on YouTube. He described the scene in a Twitter message, saying: ‘Crazy man with a knife to his throat just stopped the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.’
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were at Sandringham but were understood to have been informed about the drama. Scotland Yard is responsible for security at the palace and armed officers maintain a round-the-clock presence there, even when members of the Royal Family are not in residence.
Police cordoned off the area where the Taser was fired, some 30 yards from the palace gates.
The man, who has not been named, was checked by medics and arrested on suspicion of affray. Shocked tourists said police told them the man could have ‘mental health issues’.
In June 1982 an intruder armed with a knife managed to get on to the palace forecourt before he was stopped.
A month later Michael Fagan got inside the Queen’s private chambers while the monarch was still in bed.
Bystanders: Tourists view the personal items of a suspect at the scene between the Queen Victoria Memorial and Buckingham Palace
Forensics: A scenes of crime officer documents evidence from a scene between the Queen Victoria Memorial and Buckingham Palace where police subdued a man with a taser who was in possession of two knives
Up close: A scenes of crime officer photographs a hat and two knives from the scene in central London