The text below was written by one of PC Fiona Bone’s very good friends who tries to put into words, how the events of the past few weeks in Manchester have burdened upon her. Please read and reflect.
Unless you have been on a different planet for the last few weeks, you will know of the atrocity that occurred on the 18th September 2012, in Mottram in Greater Manchester. Two Police Officers attended what, to all intents and purposes, was a routine burglary call. It wasn’t. A man who was wanted for two other murders, called the police and reported a burglary. He did this to lure police officers to the scene, and then he killed them in cold blood. He then handed himself into Hyde Police Station. That is as far as I will go in talking about him. He is scum, he is what is wrong with our society.
Two police officers were killed in cold blood. Two officers who were just doing their job. One of them was my friend.
When I first heard of the incident on BBC news online, I knew this, one officer was killed and one was in a critical condition, and I knew that it was in Tameside. That was all. But I had a knot in my stomach, the first person I thought of was Fiona, and I prayed that she, or anyone I knew was not involved. Nothing was confirmed, but I had a gut feeling. I went home from work at the end of my shift, and watched the GMP Press Conference. When they announced the names of the Officers, it was on the ticker tape part at the bottom of the screen.
When it said PC Fi… I didn’t have to wait for the rest of it, I knew, and I collapsed. I was on my knees in my living room crying before the …ona Bone came across the screen. I called my father in tears and told him what had happened. I called work, and told them that my worst fears had now been confirmed. I saw her photograph on the screen and I cried even more.
I knew Fiona, I didn’t know Nicola, but I cried for them both. I placed myself in their situation, I imagined how scared they must have been, and how when they faced that monster, what they must have faced. I have prayed, wished and hoped that I could have taken their place and they be spared, but it is not to be.
All the while my thoughts, prayers and love went out to both families. Their daughters, sisters, lovers and mothers had been taken from them. And I got angry. I got angry that one of the most genuinely beautiful people I had ever had the honour to meet, know and love had been taken from this world in such a brutal way. I got angry, that the Criminal Justice System, particularly the CPS, who saw fit to let this beast out on bail after he was arrested on suspicion of the murder of 2 other people, to roam free in the community. I got angry at all the people who helped to conceal him. I got angry at the fact he handed himself in, and in doing so almost bragged about what he had done. But most of all I was angry at a society that can let people like that exist, that such people can walk amongst us and be so free to inflict such pain angered me.
But as the news came in, and the pictures of Fiona and Nicola were spread across the Country’s media, on TV, Newspapers, Facebook, Twitter, etc, I stopped being angry, and thought of what THEY did! They risked their lives, and paid the ultimate price, to protect a community. They did it without question, without hesitation, and with pride and honour. They were doing their job. They were responding to a routine call, they left the Station House knowing and believing that they could make a difference, and they did. They died for it.
The days between what happened and going to Manchester for the funeral were frankly a blur. Shock, denial, disbelief, guilt, anger, despair, and everything in-between was involved. It was all to surreal, and to a certain extent it still is.
And then I travelled to Manchester, the first time I had been back in 10 months. I didn’t think my first trip back would be to attend Fiona’s funeral and pay my respects to a friend who I knew and loved. The morning of her funeral, I awoke at 4am, and frankly I remember little else from that point until I reached Victoria Station to meet a friend who was to attend the funeral with me. I then saw a train, that should have been full of commuters, it entered the station, and when it emptied every single person was dressed in Uniform.
All of them Police Officers from across the country! All their to honour a woman they didn’t know, but who was part of their family, the Police Family. I was overcome with emotion, and also pride and gratitude that these men and women felt they had to be there to honour their fellow officers.
I was in the Cathedral for the service, and all I can say is it was beautiful. That part for me is still too raw to talk about. But I will say this, her family did Fiona proud that day! Whilst everyone else could not keep it together, they did, they honoured her, and they stood proud. And I can’t help but think she was there in some way keeping their spirits and saying “It’s ok, I’m with you, don’t be sad, you can get through this” and they did. They did her proud!
Then after the funeral and after the tears, I saw this image today:
It was on Constable Chaos’ website and for me it epitomises what Fiona stood for and who she was, at least for me anyway. She was ‘the Job’ she loved being a Copper, but first and foremost she was fun, she loved her family, her partner, her daughter and her friends. This picture with the 2 kids in bright coats against the dark uniforms brings both of those worlds together. And who knows, maybe the 2 kids in this photo may go on to change the world in ways we haven’t even thought possible yet. I hope they will. I have hope, despite the awful events of September 18th. I have hope that what Fiona and Nicola stood for will grow stronger, and their sacrifice will not be in vein, but be the birth of a new community.
I have faith that we will become a community where we stand up and say NO, we will not tolerate violence in our community and in our society, NO, we wont sit in silence when we know dangerous criminals are in our midst and say YES we will stand up to those who are determined to undermine our communities and our society. No longer will we sit silent with what we know, but speak up and bring criminals to justice. THAT is how we honour Fiona and Nicola.
May they both Rest in Peace, with Love, Honour and Respect xxxxx