Former Marine guilty of killing policeman

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The Independent Online

A former US Marine was found guilty today of the cold-blooded murder of traffic policeman Ian Broadhurst on Boxing Day last year.

A former US Marine was found guilty today of the cold-blooded murder of traffic policeman Ian Broadhurst on Boxing Day last year.

David Bieber, a bouncer and steroid abuser who is wanted in the US for a murder plot, was also convicted of the attempted murders of two of Pc Broadhurst's colleagues.

A jury of six men and six women at Newcastle Crown Court convicted Bieber, 38, a day after retiring to consider verdicts.

They were unaware that he was a drug dealer who had fled to the UK from Florida where he was wanted by police over a plot to hire a hitman to kill a love rival.

He was also suspected of hiring the same gunman to murder his former girlfriend, but the attempt on her life failed.

Pc Broadhurst, 34, was gunned down during a routine check on a stolen vehicle in Leeds.

His colleagues Pcs Neil Roper, 45, and James Banks, 27, were shot but survived.

Bieber, who was driving the stolen BMW, fled the scene, triggering a manhunt which ended when he was found holed up in a £34-a-night hotel in Gateshead. He had hidden the murder weapon under a mattress.

Bieber, who was using the name Nathan Coleman at the time, tried to convince the jury the killer was a friend - dubbed "Mr X" by the prosecution - whom he refused to name, claiming he was a loyal friend he would not "stab in the back".

The jury, which retired yesterday afternoon, delivered unanimous verdicts on all the charges.

After hearing the verdicts, Mr Justice Moses said he would be breaking for lunch and would be hearing submissions this afternoon before sentencing.

He said Pcs Roper and Banks should be in court this afternoon to hear the sentencing.

Bieber had his hands in his pockets as the verdicts were read out.

During the trial the jury heard harrowing and distressing evidence as to how Pc Broadhurst was gunned down.

An audio tape of the traffic officer pleading for his life was played in court. The tape included the sounds of gunfire and screaming.

Pc Broadhurst was blasted in the chest as he and Pc Roper attempted to handcuff Bieber in the back of their patrol car.

As Pc Broadhurst lay screaming on the floor from the initial gun blast, he was blasted in the head by Bieber, just inches from his face.

Pc Roper was shot in the back and shoulder but survived the ordeal following emergency surgery.

Pc Banks also survived after a bullet fired from the 9mm self-loading pistol hit his radio and saved him from injury.

After the shootings, Bieber stole a car at gunpoint, forcing the occupants onto the street, and drove the hijacked vehicle back to his flat in Springwood Road, Leeds.

The following day he withdrew large sums of money from his bank accounts and booked a one-way coach ticket to Paris.

But his desperate plans to flee the country were thwarted when staff at the Royal Hotel in Dunston, Gateshead, where he was holed up, tipped off police and he was arrested by armed officers on December 31 - five days after the brutal shootings took place.

During the trial there was a heavy police presence with armed officers in position outside the court building and immediately outside court number one, where the evidence was heard.

Inside the court, Bieber was flanked by six security guards in a glass-fronted dock. Another plain clothes policeman sat close to the jury and armed officers were visible as the judge entered the court.

When Bieber gave evidence he was flanked by three security guards and two plain clothes officers sat in the press bench, just yards away.

A police helicopter circled above the court and roads were closed off when the defendant was brought to court each day.

Throughout the trial, Pc Broadhurst's widow Eilisa, mother Cindy Eaton and other close relatives listened intently, sometimes leaving during distressing parts of the evidence.

As the verdicts were read out members of PC Broadhurst's family and friends sobbed and his widow Eilisa and mother Cindy Eaton had to be consoled.

As Bieber stood to hear the verdict he placed both hands in his suit pockets and glanced and frowned at the family as they began sobbing

He showed little other emotion apart from nodding to his defence team and mouthing a few words.

Following the verdict, Pc Roper issued a statement in which he praised his dead colleague.

He said: "I'd really like to thank everyone who was thoughtful enough to send cards and best wishes to me after what happened. It meant a lot and lifted me a little each day.

"Ian, Andy (a colleague of Roper's and Broadhurst's) and myself were a great team and shined when we worked together. Without having to say anything, we knew what each other was thinking and what was expected of each other. That is why we got on so well.

"We could talk about anything in or out of the job and trusted each other completely. We shared the same sense of humour, laughing at each other's jokes and had a similar outlook on life. We just clicked together as three friends.

"The Traffic Department lost a valued member of the team and Andy and I lost a close mate who will never be forgotten. He was a 34-year-old man who was 24 at heart, and we miss him.

"What happened that day had a dramatic impact on my life. We left Garforth to do what we did every day and I only wish we had turned left instead of right."