'Paranoid' killer of PC worked at gun club

Peter Reeve fell out with neighbours over noise and parking, according to those who knew him

A gunman, who killed himself in a cemetery after shooting dead an off-duty policeman, was an unpaid worker at a gun club who started shooting wildly at neighbours after disputes over noise and parking, acquaintances said yesterday.

Peter Reeve, 64, was found dead yesterday 40 miles from Clacton-on-Sea where he pursued neighbours before he turned the gun on PC Ian Dibell when he tried to intervene.

Reeve's body was found yesterday morning inside a graveyard in the village of Writtle, near Chelmsford, where it is understood a member of his family was buried. The area around All Saints Church was cordoned off yesterday, with a forensic tent erected near the western edge of the churchyard.

Neighbours and acquaintances yesterday painted a picture of a man who was on medication for depression and a heart condition and who had become convinced that a couple living in the same block as him in Clacton-on-Sea were up to no good. Stuart Griggs, 40, a neighbour, said he had initially seemed a perfectly "normal bloke" but started becoming very paranoid about a couple who had moved in downstairs. "He came up to me a few times and said: 'Something's going on downstairs, I think they're printing money'," said Mr Griggs. "Next thing he said he thought drugs were involved. I told him he was wrong but he seemed to become obsessed with it."

Mr Griggs said he witnessed the gun attack from the window of his home. "I saw him chasing the couple into the street, firing wildly at the boyfriend." The man, named locally as Trevor Marshall, 48, suffered leg injuries. Mr Marshall's ex-wife, Pauline, told reporters she did not know of Reeve. "We are so grateful to the police officer. He is clearly a hero who saved Trevor's life."

PC Dibell has two brothers who also work for the Essex force. In a statement, his family said yesterday they were devastated by his death. "We are immensely proud of Ian and the courage he showed. We take some comfort from his bravery."

Police said last night they had spoken to PC Dibell's son. It is understood he alerted his father about the dispute on the street outside. His father was shot when he went to intervene. Essex Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle said: "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."

Officers launched a huge operation on Monday to find Reeve who was "largely" unknown to the police and did not have a gun licence.

Reeve used to work as an unpaid handyman at the Clacton gun club where he chatted to competitors at clay pigeon shooting events, according to the London Evening Standard.

"He had a troubled past, he suffered from depression. You could tell from his mood swings if he was taking his medication," club owner Andy Riva told the newspaper. "If you talked to him he was a really nice gentleman. But he would lose it sometimes when he was in one of his moods. He did say things against people he had trouble with, he would say things like, 'He's going down'.

"He would talk about trouble he had with his neighbours and the noise, he said he could not sleep at night. No one took his threats seriously."

The police were alerted by a member of the public to the body in the graveyard. Reeve had been shot in the head and a gun was found next to his body. Ralph Bray, a local parish councillor who lives close to the churchyard where Reeve's body was found, said: "I believe he had relatives in the village but no one is sure what the relationship was."

David Cameron led the tributes to PC Dibell. "He was off-duty but went to help people in a totally selfless and typical way that our police officers do all of the time," he said.

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
Life and Style
Researchers have said it could take only two questions to identify a problem with alcohol
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style