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
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
food + drinkFrom Mediterranean Tomato Tart to Raw Caramel Peanut Pie
Extras
Boys to men: there’s nothing wrong with traditional ‘manly’ things, until masculinity is used to exclude people
indybest13 best grooming essentials
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Travel
travelPurrrfect jet comes to Europe
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch attends the London premiere of his new film The Imitation Game
people He's not as smart as his characters
Life and Style
healthMovember isn't about a moustache trend, it saves lives
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities