Five questioned over murder of PC in Bradford

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The Independent Online

After leaving flowers outside the travel agency in Bradford, West Yorkshire, where his 38-year-old wife was shot on Friday afternoon, Paul Beshenivsky said his world was "a darker place without her". He said: "She was my rock. It breaks my heart to think I will never hear her infectious laugh again, to think she won't be here to see our children grow.

"When Sharon left for work on Friday, it was such a happy day. Our youngest daughter, Lydia, was celebrating her fourth birthday and she waited excitedly for her mum to come home. When Sharon was late, I knew something was wrong.

"Her enthusiasm for the role spread through us all and we supported her throughout. She lost her life trying to protect people - and that was Sharon all over. She always put others first and would do anything to help someone out."

Detectives were questioning four men and a woman from London's Somali community in connection with the murder. The suspects were tracked to the Thamesmead district of south-east London on Saturday by West Yorkshire Police's homicide and major inquiry team using Bradford's "Big Fish", an automatic number plate recognition system. This records the details of every vehicle entering and leaving Bradford and enables detectives to check them against a police database.

Police believe the killers may have left Bradford in a large silver car after the raid at which she and her colleague, PC Teresa Milburn, 37, were shot.

The suspects, who have been in the UK for some time, were taken from London to Yorkshire yesterday morning in a high-speed, heavily guarded armed convoy and were interviewed at police stations across West Yorkshire. Forensic science searches also continued at the Universal Express travel agency in Bradford city centre.

PC Milburn was in tears as she was pushed out of hospital in a wheelchair. The officer, who was shot in the shoulder during the attack, was leaving Bradford Royal Infirmary with her husband, Christopher, when she broke down before photographers. She said she was feeling "fine" and "looking forward to getting home" before she was driven away, followed by one marked and two unmarked police cars containing about six armed officers. The uniformed officers stood guard on each side of her street, in Birstall, near Bradford, while PC Milburn went straight into her house at 3.40pm.

PC Beshenivsky had three children and two stepchildren. The former childminder had been a community support officer before joining the full-time West Yorkshire Police force just nine months ago, and had recently moved with her husband and the five children to a hillside cottage overlooking Keighley, West Yorkshire.

PC Beshenivsky's father, Billy Jagger, 61, said his daughter was a "one-in-a-million" who had recently pleaded with him to move house to escape problems with vandals. "That sums Sharon up - always wanting to look after others," he said. "If I ever clap eyes on the person responsible... I swear I'll kill him with my own hands."

PC Milburn was previously a machinist and hoped for a "complete change" and "new opportunities" by joining the force. Friends told of her devotion to her mother, Shirley Richardson, who was widowed 12 months ago. "Teresa rings her every day," said one.

Within two minutes of reaching the travel agency on Friday, the women encountered raiders as they left with money deposited by residents for dispatch to families in Pakistan. PC Beshenivsky was killed by a single bullet which penetrated her lightly armoured vest and hit her in the chest.