Hampshire police join tribute to slain officers

Police and civilian staff stand outside Fratton police as a mark of respect to fallen comrade PC Nicola Hughes.''PICTURE:Paul Jacobs
Police and civilian staff stand outside Fratton police as a mark of respect to fallen comrade PC Nicola Hughes.''PICTURE:Paul Jacobs

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POLICE officers gathered outside stations across Hampshire today for a minute’s silence to mark the funeral of an officer killed in Manchester.

PC Nicola Hughes died when a bogus burglary call ended in a gun and grenade attack.

Her colleague PC Fiona Bone was also killed in the attack.

The minute’s silence was held at 1pm in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight as part of a national tribute by police officers across the country.

Force flags were flown at half mast and the bell at headquarters in Winchester sounded to mark the beginning and end of the silence.

Thousands of police officers from across the country gathered today in memory of one of the policewoman killed in the gun and grenade attack.

All bowed their heads solemnly when the funeral cortege for Pc Nicola Hughes, 23, passed as they lined the procession route through an eerily quiet Manchester city centre.

They were joined in Deansgate by hundreds of members of the public who heeded a call from Greater Manchester Police for “decent people” to stand shoulder by shoulder with the force in tribute to Pc Hughes and her colleague, Pc Fiona Bone, 32.

Office workers left their desks, shops emptied and building sites fell silent in a public show of respect.

Both officers were lured to their deaths by what appeared to be a routine burglary call to a house in Hattersley, Tameside, on September 18.

Police motorcycle outriders provided a guard of honour ahead of the cortege, led by the funeral carriage pulled by six horses from GMP’s mounted unit and bearing the coffin, shrouded in black cloth.

Pc Hughes, from Oldham, joined GMP in 2009. Her family said she wanted to make a difference and was doing a job she loved.

Fellow officers described her as a chatterbox, always smiling, with a bubbly, infectious personality.

Officers from forces nationwide volunteered to cover the shifts of GMP colleagues so they could attend the service at Manchester Cathedral, with most of them lining the funeral procession route.

Several chief constables and senior officers from forces across England and Wales were expected to be among the 1,000 mourners inside the cathedral along with Pc Hughes’s family and friends, and fellow officers from the Tameside division.

A big screen was relaying the funeral at the rear of the cathedral for hundreds more gathered outside.

The funeral of Pc Bone will take place at the same venue tomorrow.

The six officers on horseback formed a guard of honour as the hearse arrived at the cathedral entrance.

Spontaneous applause came from the crowd as the procession went along Deansgate until chimes began to sound from the cathedral as mourners observed a 15-minute silence.

The family of Pc Hughes entered the cathedral including her mother, Susan, her father, Bryn, and her younger brother, Sam.

GMP officers acted as pallbearers with Pc Hughes’s police hat on top of the coffin which was led in to Pie Jesu sung by the cathedral choir.