A gunman who killed a police officer and fired at two others during a routine traffic check in Leeds on Boxing Day had the voice of a "cold, calculating" killer, investigators said yesterday.
PC Ian Broadhurst, 34, died and PC Neil Roper, 45,was seriously injured when the gunman fired five shots from a black, self-loading pistol. A bullet fired at a third officer, PC James Banks, 26, was deflected by his radio.
Investigators have listened to an audio-recording made by the officers of the killer's voice which reveals that he has a North American accent. PC Roper, who has two children, was interviewed yesterday by detectives hunting the killer. Police described the gunman as "extremely dangerous" and said he fired each of the five shots with "some precision" , indicating that he may have firearms experience.
PC Broadhurst and PC Roper had approached the driver, who was reading a copy of the Racing Post, in a BMW in Dib Lane, Oakwell, because the car was clumsily parked. The driver reluctantly agreed to sit in the rear of the patrol car, but the officers had an "uneasy feeling" about him and called for assistance, bringing PC Banks to the scene.
The BMW, which had the false registration plate V948 FGJ, was found to be stolen and when the police officers attempted to handcuff the driver he shot at them.
Detective Superintendent Chris Gregg, who is leading the investigation, said the gunman's actions "were certain to kill" and the two officers were lucky to survive. He said: "James has been very fortunate. It's only by good fortune that not more than Ian was killed in these events. Both officers, James and Neil, are very, very fortunate to have survived this incident. From the number of shots fired, we can say each shot has found its intended target."
On the recording the man sounds calm while speaking to the two unarmed traffic officers. He is recorded as saying he was born in Canada, but had been living in Leeds "for a while". Investigators are attempting to identify his accent. "We have recovered some audio of the officers' conversation with the gunman, who appears to be speaking with a Canadian or American accent ... It's difficult to hear what he's saying but he's talking in a calm, controlled, manner and choosing his words carefully and sparingly," Det Supt Gregg said.
"The voice and manner of this man is extremely calm and cool under what for him would potentially have been extreme pressure."
He added that a possible link to a terrorist organisation had not been ruled out, although there was no information on such a connection. The man may also have had an interest in racing or gambling; the car was parked close to a William Hill betting shop.
Assistant Chief Constable John Sampson said West Yorkshire Police were determined to bring the man to justice. He said: "There's a grim determination to track down the killer of our colleague. If any team can identify and arrest this killer, it is this team."
The gunman is described as 5ft 10in tall, stocky with olive or tanned skin and dark hair which was swept back.
A coat hanger with the size marker XXL was found in the BMW. The Boxing Day edition of the Yorkshire Evening Post and a ticket for a Leeds car park from October were discovered under one of the seats. The man stole a green Rover 600 to escape after firing more shots. That car was later found abandoned in Leeds.
PC Broadhurst, who was born in Sheffield, had been married to his wife, Eilisa, for two years. He joined West Yorkshire Police in 1998.Reuse content