Essex gunman found dead in churchyard

 

A man wanted for murder after a police officer was fatally shot has been found dead in a churchyard, police said.

Essex Police had launched a major manhunt and warned members of the public to stay indoors after Peter Reeve, 64, ran amok in a residential street in the seaside town of Clacton, Essex, yesterday afternoon.

Pc Ian Dibell, dubbed a hero by colleagues, was killed and another man injured in the double shooting with a handgun.

Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle said Pc Dibell, who lived near the crime scene in Redbridge Road, had "paid the ultimate price" after stepping in to protect a member of the public while off-duty.

He added: "I can confirm Peter Reeve, the man wanted for the murder of a serving police officer, was found dead, with a weapon in a Writtle churchyard and no shots were fired by the police.

"Clearly the very strong message I had to send to the public no longer applies. Any threat to the public has thankfully passed."

A cordon was this morning in place at the churchyard in the village of Writtle, near Chelmsford, where Reeve's body was found.

Officers were alerted by a member of the public at about 8.30am.

Mr Barker-McCardle said inquiries were ongoing into the motive for the attack, which neighbours say may be linked to a dispute over parking.

He added: "Whatever may or may not turn out to have sat behind the motive, yesterday can only be described as impossible to understand and a catastrophic escalation in events.

"It is an extreme set of circumstances that a man opens fire with a gun clearly firing at more than one person and shooting an off-duty police constable dead.

"There must have been some sort of catalyst that prompted the scale of a tragedy of this kind."

Mr Dibell's family issued a statement saying they were devastated by the news.

They added: "We are immensely proud of Ian and the courage he showed.

"We take some comfort from his bravery.

"Policing was in his blood and Ian selflessly went to the aid of people in desperate need without fear or thought for his own safety. It was who he was, a hero.

"He has paid for the act in the most devastating way. He will be deeply missed and no words can describe the loss."

Essex Police said Reeve was "largely unknown to the police" and did not have a licence to hold a firearm.

Officers would not comment on Reeve's precise circumstances but said they were in contact with his family.

Mr Barker-McCardle said it was important to remember that another man had been injured and could have suffered far more serious injuries.

He said there was no reason to suspect anybody else was involved in the killing.

Referring to Pc Dibell, he said: "He was a highly-regarded and well-liked community police officer.

"This was highly disturbing but police officers know there is a time to grieve and that is when this murder investigation is complete."

A message posted on Twitter from the account of the late Pc David Rathband said: "Very sad day for all those connected to a brave man doing his job.. We feel your pain more than most..RIP".

The 43-year-old blinded officer was found hanged earlier this year at his home in Blyth, Northumberland. Two years ago he was shot twice in the face by gunman Raoul Moat in Newcastle.

Police officers are understood to be at a number of properties in Writtle belonging to members of Reeve's family.

The media have been asked not to approach them as they are described as distressed and possible witnesses.

PA

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?