TRIBUTES have been paid to the policewoman from the island who was killed in Greater Manchester yesterday.
Constable Fiona Bone, aged 32, grew up in the island after moving here with her family in the 1990s.
Her family still live in Port St Mary and she was educated at Castle Rushen High School.
Constable Bone, who had served in the force for five years, was unarmed as she and a colleague, Constable Nicola Hughes, aged 23, were killed in a gun and grenade attack.
They were investigating an alleged burglary in Abbey Gardens, Hattersley.
Cregan walked into nearby Hyde police station shortly after the incident and was arrested.
Witnesses reported hearing gunshots and an explosion shortly after 11am.
The headteacher at Castle Rushen High School, Andrew Cole, said: ‘Fiona joined the sixth form at Castle Rushen High School in September 1997, when her family moved to the island from Derby.
‘Fiona’s outgoing nature, friendliness and undaunted sense of humour, which was commented on by Greater Manchester’s Chief Constable, saw her quickly make new friends here.
‘Fiona was pleasant and courteous and enjoyed good relationships with everyone she came into contact with. Her form tutor at the time noted that she had a great sense of responsibility and was totally reliable. These are no doubt qualities that supported her in being such a good police officer.
‘Fiona was described by her teachers as a listener first and a contributor second when in discussion, but she was unafraid to ask questions and seek to clarify things, other strong qualities that would have stood her in good stead in her chosen career.
‘Fiona was a student at Castle Rushen High School for two years, until July 1999, completing her qualifications in English, computer studies and general studies before moving on to university.
‘Fiona’s death has deeply shocked and saddened everyone at Castle Rushen High School. The school’s flag is flying at half mast today as a mark of respect and our deepest sympathies are with Fiona’s family, her many friends, her fiancé and her colleagues.’
Sir Peter Fahy, the chief constable in Greater Manchester, said Constable Bone was a ‘calm, gentle woman’ and an ‘excellent bobby’.
‘We are devastated by this loss and our thoughts and condolences go out to these two officers, their friends and in particularly their colleagues who work with them day in, day out, who are shocked and distressed at the events this morning,’ he told reporters yesterday.
Sir Peter said the women ‘exemplified the very best of British policing’. He said: ‘Fiona had a great sense of humour – always enjoying a good laugh. She was so happy with her partner and they were in the middle of planning their wedding. Her partner only spoke to her this morning about the wedding invites.
‘Her fellow officers said they loved being partnered with her because she was calm, collected and professional and could defuse situations with her calm gentle way. She was an excellent bobby and cared about her job and the communities that she served.’
Police said one of the officers died at the scene. The other died soon afterwards.
Constable Bone’s parents flew to Manchester this morning.
Before they left, her father Paul told iomtoday.co.im: ‘I believe the death penalty should be imposed on anyone who shoots uniformed emergency services personnel on duty, whether they’re a police officer or firefighter.
They put themselves on the line for the public.’
Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy said: ‘It would appear Cregan has deliberately done this in an act of cold-blooded murder.’
He said it was routine to send unarmed officers to a burglary call and that the force believed Cregan was in the property in Hattersley overnight.
Sir Peter added that police were working under the assumption that Cregan or someone else reported a burglary but because the address was not known to officers, the policewomen were sent to the scene unarmed.
He said: ‘When they arrived, it appears that Cregan emerged into the road and killed these two officers. A firearm was used, a grenade was also used.’
Sir Peter added that he believed Cregan had been ‘protected by a criminal conspiracy to harbour him’, adding that the force was ‘fully determined’ to investigate that conspiracy and bring those involved ‘to book’.
He added: ‘This is one of the darkest days in the history of the Greater Manchester Police, if not for the police service overall, because we have lost two deeply-loved and valued colleagues, because they are part of our team, policing is very much a family.’
UK Prime Minister David Cameron: ‘What we have seen is the absolutely despicable act of pure evil.
‘The cold-blooded murder of two female police officers doing their job out there protecting the public; another reminder of the incredible risks and great work our police service does.
‘My thoughts and I think the thoughts of the whole country will be with their families.’
Tributes have been paid to the two police officers.
Chairman of the Greater Manchester Police Federation Ian Hanson said: ‘I’m going to look beyond the uniform here. What we’ve got are two young girls that went out this morning and they’ve got an absolute right to come home tonight to their loved ones.
‘This is cold-blooded murder. It’s the slaughter of the innocents.
‘I’m struggling to find the words to use to officers out there who’ve lost friends and colleagues. It’s a dark day for policing, it’s a dark day for society.’
Greater Manchester Police officers formed a guard of honour yesterday as a private ambulance left the scene.
A number of floral tributes had been left at the edge of the police cordon.
One, from a fellow police colleague, said: ‘Nic and FB, you swore to protect and save. I hope you do that from heaven with all the other police guardian angels.
‘I will never forget you beautiful ladies. It was a pleasure to have known you and to have worked with you.
‘God bless you sleep tight.’ Emma C.
A note on another floral tribute said: ‘To the families and work colleagues of the two brave officers that laid down their lives, our thoughts and prayers go to them.’
Paula Cohen, a close friend of Fiona Bone, went to the scene at just after 8pm to lay a floral tribute.
The 34-year-old who lives in Denton, Greater Manchester, told reporters at the scene that she had met Fiona when they were both studying at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston.
She said: ‘She was incredibly witty and funny, always wanting to make people laugh. She would do anything for anyone. We are all still in shock. It is unbelievable.’
Questions are now being asked about the lead-up to the deaths.
Sir Peter has said it was ‘absolutely normal’ for police to have bailed the man who now faces accusations that he killed Constable Bone and Constable Hughes.
It has emerged that Cregan, aged 29, was arrested in June in connection with another murder but was released on bail pending further inquiries.
Sir Peter said in a statement: ‘It is absolutely normal in the course of complex crime inquiries that when people are arrested there are occasions where there is insufficient evidence available for them to be charged.
‘In those circumstances suspects have to be released on bail as there are strict time limits covering how long suspects can be held in custody without charge. That is exactly what happened in this case.’
Cregan had been questioned and bailed in connection with the murder of Mark Short, aged 23, who was shot dead in a Manchester pub in May. Mr Short’s father David Short, aged 46, who had branded his son’s killer a coward, was murdered in a gun and grenade attack at his home in August.
After he was released on bail in relation to the killing of Mark Short, Cregan went on the run and became Manchester’s most wanted man. After the deaths of the two police officers in Hattersley, the fugitive gave himself up at nearby Hyde police station.
The outrage prompted renewed calls for the routine arming of police. But Sir Peter said his force believed ‘passionately’ that police should remain unarmed, despite the tragedy.
Senior police and politicians have condemned the conspiracy of silence that allowed one of Britain’s most wanted men to remain at large for more than a month.
Following Dale Cregan’s arrest, residents told the Manchester Evening News how he had been seen in the Hyde, Hattersley and Mottram area for several weeks.
Others said he had even been spotted in a local pub. He added: ‘I saw him in the pub three or four weeks ago. He had one drink and met a few guys. I did not tell police because I was too scared.’
Nobody contacted police to give details of his whereabouts despite Greater Manchester Police offering a £50,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. The force also carried out dozens of armed raids to try to track him down.
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Weather for Isle of Man
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North west