Shot officer was unlawfully killed
An off-duty police officer was unlawfully killed as he tried to wrestle a revolver away from a crazed gunman to protect a member of the public, a coroner has ruled.
Pc Ian Dibell, 41, a father-of-two, was shot while trying to intervene in a dispute near his home in the seaside town of Clacton, Essex, on July 9 last year.
His killer, 64-year-old Peter Reeve, had run amok in a residential street as he attacked his neighbour Trevor Marshall and Mr Marshall's girlfriend, Katarzyna Karolak.
The following day, Reeve was found dead after shooting himself once through the forehead in All Saints churchyard in Writtle, Essex.
At an inquest into both deaths at Chelmsford Crown Court, coroner for Essex and Thurrock Caroline Beasley-Murray ruled that Pc Dibell had been unlawful killed by a single wound to the chest.
She recorded a verdict of suicide for Reeve, whom she described as "troubled" after hearing he had a history of mental health problems. The former mechanic had become obsessed with the idea that his neighbours were dealing drugs and printing money, the inquest was told.
He had previously threatened to kill them and himself, but said he was sorry for murdering Pc Dibell in a letter to a friend before ending his own life.
Pc Dibell's partner Louise Lilley cried as Ms Beasley-Murray read out the verdicts, while the officer's father, mother and two brothers, who were also present, remained calm.
In a tribute read outside Chelmsford police station on their behalf, Pc Dibell's family said: "Ian's death has been an event in our lives that we do not think we will ever come to terms with.
"The loss of a loved one is never easy, but to lose a loved one under such circumstances is something that is beyond comprehension. Today's inquest has left no shadow of a doubt that Ian acted selflessly and heroically to protect others."