8:00am Thursday 19th July 2012
MEMBERS of a church where a gunman was found dead prayed for him and his victim.
All Saints Church, in Writtle, was the focus of a police investigation after Peter Reeve, 64, shot himself in the head having killed PC Ian Dibell the previous day.
Rev Michael Jones, vicar of the church, in Church Lane, said: “We prayed for PC Ian Dibell, Peter Reeve and their families.
“After the incident it was obviously local news and there was local chatter going on.
“Some people were obviously shocked and it was a question of calming people and saying everyone was safe.”
Speculation was rife after Reeve was found dead on July 10 in the church graveyard, that he chose to kill himself by the grave of a relative.
But Rev Jones said he could not “see any link whatsoever with the church”.
Reeve, of Clacton, went on the run and ended up in Writtle, where he has family, after killing PC Dibell, 41, on July 9, in Clacton.
Hero officer PC Dibell, was off duty when he tried to tackle Reeve, who was shooting at a man and a woman.
It is unclear why Reeve went after the couple, but PC Dibell bravely put his life on the line to intervene.
Rev Jones said: “The police were at the church grounds early in the morning and they handled the situation very sensitively.
“They were very polite and considerate and I cannot praise them highly enough.”
Anthony Jackson, chairman of Essex Police Authority, paid tribute to PC Dibell.
He said: “He knew the risk in tackling a gunman who had already shot at others but did not shrink from the task.
“PC Dibell was an extraordinary man and an exceptional police officer.
“Very experienced and respected by his colleagues, he thought nothing of going to the rescue of fellow citizens who were in mortal danger.
“He is the finest example of the deep sense of loyalty and bravery in our officers, even when not on duty, to serve and protect the public.
“PC Dibell has become a beacon for us all. We shall not forget him.”
An inquest into the death of PC Dibell and Reeve was opened and adjourned on July 13.
Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray expressed her sympathy to the families of both men during the hearing at Chelmsford’s Civic Centre.
She said: “As the tragic events unfolded this week, many lives have been affected.”
Post mortem examinations for both men were completed last week with the cause of death for PC Dibell given as a gunshot wound to chest and Reeve’s death attributed to a gunshot wound to the head.
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