Inquiry into Pc gun murder goes on

Detectives have stressed a "live murder inquiry" will continue after a man wanted for murdering a police officer was found dead in a churchyard.

Essex Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle said it was vital investigations continued to establish what led to the double shootings which left Pc Ian Dibell dead and another man injured.

The force is urging witnesses to come forward. He was speaking after Peter Reeve, 64, was found dead in a churchyard in the village of Writtle near Chelmsford. Reeve is believed to have shot himself.

The force had launched a major manhunt and warned residents to stay indoors after Reeve ran amok in a residential street in the seaside town of Clacton, Essex.

Pc Ian Dibell was killed as he tried to intervene. He has been described as a hero by colleagues. Another man, named locally as Trevor Marshall, 48, is in hospital with leg injuries.

Mr Barker-McCardle said officers were following a number of lines of inquiry as to the motive for the attack. Neighbours suggested there may have been a dispute over car-parking which spiralled out of control.

Mr Barker-McCardle said Pc Dibell, who lived near the crime scene in Redbridge Road, had "paid the ultimate price" after stepping in to protect a member of the public while off duty.

Reeve is understood to have had several family members living near the churchyard and some residents said he may have had a relative buried there. A cordon remained in place around All Saints Church and a white forensic tent was erected towards the western edge of the churchyard amongst several graves.

Mr Dibell's family, several of whom are police officers, issued a statement saying they were devastated by his death. They added: "We are immensely proud of Ian and the courage he showed. We take some comfort from his bravery. Policing was in his blood and Ian selflessly went to the aid of people in desperate need without fear or thought for his own safety. It was who he was, a hero."

Mr Marshall's ex-wife, Pauline, told reporters she did not know of Reeve but added her voice to tributes to Pc Dibell. She said: "We are so grateful to the police officer. He is clearly a hero who saved Trevor's life."