A gunman believed to have shot dead an off-duty policeman said "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I shot the police officer" before killing himself in a churchyard, it has been reported.
Peter Reeve, 64, made the admission before taking his own life in a churchyard about 40 miles away from where he had gunned down Pc Ian Dibell the day before, according to the Sun.
Gardener David Colyer, 76, told the paper he was just six feet from Reeve when the fugitive shot himself in the head with a revolver, calling 999 afterwards.
"He blurted out, 'I'm Peter Reeve. I'm the man who shot the police constable in Clacton'," he told the paper.
"I realised I was standing before a killer. The man hardly paused for breath then said, 'I'm sorry. I'm sorry I shot the police officer'.
"He looked me in the eye. His voice wasn't trembling, he was calm, he was clearly trying to be sincere."
A huge police manhunt for Reeve was launched after Pc Dibell was shot dead in the seaside town of Clacton, Essex, on Monday afternoon.
Pc Dibell, 41, was off duty when he intervened last Monday in a dispute between Trevor Marshall, Mr Marshall's girlfriend and Reeve in Redbridge Road, Clacton.
Pc Dibell was shot dead, while Mr Marshall, 48, escaped with leg injuries and his girlfriend survived unscathed.
Reeve disappeared after the shooting and police launched a manhunt that lasted almost 17 hours. His body was discovered near the rural All Saints Church in Writtle on Tuesday morning. He had dumped his car near the murder scene the previous day.