One of the young police officers killed yesterday spoke to her partner about planning for their upcoming wedding just before she left on her final call-out, it emerged yesterday.
Fiona Bone, 32, had a brief telephone conversation with her partner to discuss the design of the invitations for their big day. The couple had been "so happy", Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy said.
Fellow officers recalled a reserved young woman who joined the shift five years previously but who had flourished into a much-admired member of the team – passionate about the community she served and the job she loved.
Popular for her sense of humour, she was a sought-after beat partner among fellow constables who valued her "calm, collected and professional manner" which could calm potentially dangerous situations while on patrol.
Nicola Hughes, 23, died from her wounds despite the efforts of paramedics to save her at the scene. A keen exponent of karate, Ms Hughes had three years' service with the force. Remembered by friends as a "bubbly chatterbox," she loved to socialise and had a love of life.
Sir Peter said she was always smiling – "even after a night shift when everyone else was a bit grumpy. She was a good listener and a lovely friend and a great bobby."
The flag was flying at half mast above Greater Manchester Police headquarters yesterday with many officers in tears of shock and grief at the loss of two colleagues in what Ian Hanson of the local Police Federation described as "cold-blooded murder" and the "slaughter of the innocents".
Members of the huge month-long operation to capture Dale Cregan were said to be "shattered" by the tragic circumstances leading up to his arrest.
The force set up an online book of condolence last night for the two "excellent bobbies" who died while carrying out their duties on the streets of Greater Manchester yesterday.
Tributes were also left close to the scene of the shooting. One man left a floral tribute with a note written on the back of a school letter. "To the families and work colleagues of the two brave officers that laid down their lives," it said. "Our thoughts and prayers go to them."