21/11/2005

Policewoman shot dead on daughter's birthday

The policewoman shot dead on Friday in Bradford was gunned down on her four-year-old daughter's birthday.

Pc Sharon Beshenivsky, 38, was shot in the chest as she answered a call to a travel agents shop in Bradford. Her colleague PC Teresa Milburn, 37, was wounded in the shoulder. Police have confirmed that while neither officer was armed, they were wearing body armour.

Married with three children and two step-children, she completed her basic training in May and had been a constable for just nine months.

Chief Constable Colin Cramphorn described Pc Beshenivsky as "enthusiastic and very positive" and would be remembered by her colleagues for her infectious laugh.

He said that such was the poularity of the officer that her inspector would have liked "30 Sharon's working on the shift".

The injured officer, Teresa Milburn, who was taken to hospital for treatment after the incident, but later allowed home, said she had "lost a colleague and a dear friend".

In a statement, in which he appealed to be left alone by the media, Paul Beshenivsky, the husband of the murdered policewoman said: "Sharon was my rock. She was loved by everyone who met her and my family's loss is felt by so many. It breaks my heart to think that I will never hear her infectious laugh again. To think that she won't be here to see our children grow.

"When Sharon left for work on Friday, it was such a happy day. Our youngest daughter, Lydia was celebrating her fourth birthday and she waited excitedly for her mum to come home. When Sharon was late I knew something was wrong.

"The people who did this to Sharon and Teresa and to our families are cowards.

"They took away my wife, but they also took away a wonderful mum and the world is a darker place without her."

On Monday, Sharon Beshenivsky's grieving father, Billy Jagger, visited the spot where his daughter was shot to lay his floral tribute to those at the scene.

Police have arrested six people for questioning in connection with the fatal shooting, five in West Yorkshire and a sixth person in London.

Detailing what police had learned from their enquiries, Detective Superintendent Andy Brennan said that shortly after 3pm on Friday three men had entered the travel agents and asked about purchasing tickets. He said that police believed that "more than one of these men had a firearm and one of them had a knife".

The men had then jumped over the counter and an employee had been struck about the head with a firearm. The employee was not seriously injured.

Police confirmed that a quantity of cash was stolen during the raid.

One of the staff activated the personal attack alarm which resulted in the two police officers being called to the scene.

The three suspects ran from the premises, escaping in a waiting silver car.

Police have appealed for anyone with information about the raid or who may have witnessed the incident to contact them.

(SP/MB)

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