Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

We will all mourn death of a heroine

The death of the young policewoman Philippa Reynolds is a tragedy for everyone.

Her loss is devastating for her family, friends and colleagues, and it also creates shock across the community. She was killed in a car crash involving a stolen vehicle in Londonderry, and this senseless act of stupidity and recklessness compounds the loss of the life of a fine young woman.

The moving tributes across the community and entire political spectrum underline the widespread sense of revulsion at the killing of a young policewoman in the course of her duty.

The Chief Constable Matt Baggott underlined the loss to the police service and the community when he said: "She was out on duty, working hard to keep people safe."

This community has been hardened by the years of violence during which far too many police officers suffered violent deaths from terrorists who were out to overturn the rule of law.

However, it is particularly poignant that Philippa Reynolds died in the middle of the night on a routine patrol in a peaceful city because of the outrageous behaviour of those who could not care less about the safety of others.

These people must be brought to justice and punished severely, and the Chief Constable has underlined the determination of the police force to ensure that every effort will be made to ensure that this happens.

Philippa was not only a good police officer. She was also a good human being, with a bright and bubbly personality. The picture which we publish today on our front page is that of a lovely young person who could be anyone's daughter, sister or friend. The loss of her life is also a loss which diminishes all of us.

At a time when the members of the PSNI have been under immense and continuous strain because of the violent demonstrations over the Union flag issue, and also from dealing with so much crime in other areas, we should all appreciate their dedication and sense of duty.

Philippa Reynolds's death brings that home to all of us living here.

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