MURDER OF POLICEWOMAN
It is with a heavy heart and much sadness that I write about the shooting of WPC Sharon Beshenivsky and the bullet injury of her colleague Theresa Milburn. Both officers were stationed at Bradford, West Yorkshire, both were probationers, that is they both had served less than two years service, and both were mothers. The officers arrived in a patrol car after a personal alarm was triggered in a travel agent's in the towns city centre. As the cops got out of the car three murdering cowards shot them whilst running from the shop. Sharon died in hospital, having been shot in the chest and Theresa was rushed to hospital with bullet wounds to her shoulder, both were wearing body armour that proved to be totally inadequate to stop a bullet.
I have to ask why were two probationers out patrolling together, and why were they driving a patrol car? Surely they should have been with experienced officers. In my day you had to have served for more than two years to be able to drive a police panda car.
I know times have changed, but are they for the better? Probationers walk the streets, therefore giving a police presence, which shop keepers and house holders alike found reassuring, and the bad guys never knew when you would appear.
CARE OF POLICE SURVIVORS, the charity founded by ex police officer Jim McNulty, and which I am proud to be associated with, are selling lapel pins: all the money raised goes to help the families of police officers killed in the line of duty. You can purchase one of these pins for just one pound ($2) by sending a cheque or postal order to COPS, PO BOX 1027, NARBOROUGH, KINGS LYNN, NORFOLK PE32 1FH.
Peter Bleksleys book, TEN MOST WANTED, published by Blake (ISBN 1-84454-149-5) is exactly what is says on the cover. He has looked at ten unsolved murders and now we are asking for your help with solving them.
Thank you to everyone who emailed me about the death of Wayne Trotter last month, all your tips have been passed on.
This month's column is concentrating on the murder of retired Lieutenant Colonel Robert Workman, aged 83; he lived in the small Hertfordshire village of Furneaux Pelham.
On Thursday 8 January 2004 at 4.57am, a call was made from a local phone box to the emergency services telling them to send an ambulance to hollyhock cottage in the village. The ambulance was dispatched but was unable to find the cottage. At 7am the same day Workmans house keeper arrived at the cottage to find him slumped by the side door, which was open. A doctor and paramedics were called, and Workman was pronounced dead. Everybody assumed he had died of natural causes, despite his arms being raised as if in shock or horror.
It is pretty safe to say the police messed up! It was not until the undertakers arrived that the bullet wound on his body was discovered. Workman was commonly known by his middle name Riley; he had previously worked for several years in the USA as a gardener, with his now deceased wife, as a housekeeper. Prior to this Riley was in the British Army, it is believed he had a homosexual relationship with another soldier. Totally frowned upon in that day and age! Bleksley believes Riley was killed possibly by someone from his past. Maybe Riley was more than a closet homosexual, maybe he abused his rank in the army? If you know anything about Riley's death and would like to help solve his murder please email me and I will pass on the information to Peter Bleksley.
While you are all reading this I am in New York freezing my whatnots off. I want you all to have a safe festive season, so please, watch your drinks being poured in bars - and do not leave your drink alone. If you are getting a cab home then either pre-book with a company you are familiar with, or get a licensed black cab. Black cabs are safest and are sure to be insured with a driver that does not have previous convictions for rape. Do not drink and drive and do not leave presents or shopping on display in your car. Lock it in the trunk/boot out of sight.
Finally, have a nice festive season and I'll see you in February
Until next year stay safe