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Policeman quizzed over murder of his WPC lover

A police officer was arrested yesterday over the murder of his policewoman lover.

The 26-year-old was detained after a car crash in Bolton early yesterday.

PC Claire Howarth (31) was driving a silver BMW which crashed in Tottington Road, Harwood, at 2.25am.

She was taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital with a serious head injury and later died.

Her passenger, who was in a relationship with her, was arrested on suspicion of murder and is being questioned.

A Greater Manchester Police (GMP) spokesman said the woman was an officer who served in Rochdale.

He added: “An investigation has been launched to establish how the victim sustained her injuries and the possibility she was attacked before the road traffic collision. A 26-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in police custody.”

The spokesman said the officers were not on duty at the time. Formal identification and a post-mortem examination are expected to take place later.

A police source said the policewoman’s injuries were not consistent with the damage done to the car in the crash.

The man under arrest is a serving officer with Cheshire Police. The force yesterday referred all calls about the officer to Greater Manchester Police, who are conducting the investigation.

The couple are understood to have been in a long-standing relationship and were engaged to be married.

A police cordon surrounded the couple’s home in Bury yesterday.

Floral tributes were left tied to the railings of the modern, detached corner house. Police officers guarded the property and forensics officers in white boilersuits were spotted leaving at around 5pm.

Neighbours said the couple had lived in the road for about a year.

A pensioner couple who answered their door yesterday said they saw PC Howarth walking a dog regularly.

A woman who has lived in the street for 41 years said: “This is about the most exciting thing that’s ever happened in our street.”

Another neighbour said the couple’s blinds were always down.

Many people living in the street said they were out at work all day and did not know their neighbours.

Belfast Telegraph

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