Devastated police colleagues vow to get justice for their 'beautiful, friendly, bubbly' Philippa Reynolds
Published 11/02/2013 | 04:20
Heartbroken colleagues of a PSNI officer killed in a hit-and-run have said they will miss her smile.
Philippa Reynolds (27) died when a stolen 4x4 ran a red light and ploughed into the car in which she was travelling during the early hours of Saturday.
Two men were expected to appear in Londonderry Magistrates Court on Monday to face a catalogue of charges following the tragedy.
A 25-year-old man has been charged with 10 offences, including causing death by dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking causing death or grievous bodily injury, burglary and driving while unfit. Another man, aged 23, faces charges of aggravated vehicle taking causing death or grievous bodily injury, burglary, criminal damage and assisting offenders.
Floral tributes now mark the spot on the Limavady Road in Derry where the incident occurred. One message read: 'We will miss your smile. Lots of love. Your colleagues, E Section.'
Miss Reynolds, from Glengormley, was described by her commanding officer as "in the prime of her life, beautiful and friendly".
A constable for two years, she joined the PSNI's Foyle Response Team in 2011. It is understood her parents, Mervyn and Dorothy, are in the US. The patrol car was turning a corner when the stolen silver Toyota Land Cruiser, taken from the Gobnascale area of Derry around 3am, hit it side-on.
Miss Reynolds, a back-seat passenger, was killed instantly. Two colleagues in the unmarked patrol car were not seriously injured but were badly shocked, and devastated at the death of their colleague.
PSNI commander Stephen Cargin paid tribute: "Constable Reynolds was a constable in the prime of her life with just two years' experience. A former teacher, she wanted to serve her community and keep it safe.
"She was beautiful, friendly, a most enthusiastic officer, really bubbly and someone who wanted to be a police officer. I have met with her family and they are devastated, as you would imagine."
Her boyfriend is also a police officer, and is being comforted and supported by his fellow officers.
Chief Constable Matt Baggott vowed to bring those responsible to justice: "This is a personal tragedy for her family and also for the whole Police Service," he said.
In a joint statement, First Ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness said: "Officers in the PSNI put their lives at risk on a daily basis to serve and protect our community and we are all truly grateful for their dedicated service. Those who commit a crime such as vehicle theft must realise their actions can have serious consequences."
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan expressed condolences.
Justice Minister David Ford said Miss Reynolds had been serving the community in the middle of the night when she died. "My thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time," he added.
"This is not the first time we have seen death and injury resulting from car crime."
Northern Ireland Policing Board chairman Brian Rea also expressed his sympathies.
And Foyle MP Mark Durkan said: "The shock felt across the community will be matched with disgust that such criminal activity has led to this tragic death."
The Police Ombudsman's office has been informed.
Police appealed to anyone who saw the Land Cruiser, especially between 3am and 3.40am, or saw the men run off to contact them.