The Met Police have held a memorial service in honour of a police officer forty years after he was killed by an IRA terrorist.
PC Stephen Tibble lost his life in 1975 when he tried to detain a terrorist suspect in the Barons Court area.
The Met Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, and family and friends of PC Tibble gathered at the scene of his murder on Thursday 25th February to mark the anniversary of his death.
Senior Chaplin Jonathon Osborn led the service near the plaque on Charleville Road in Barons Court, Hammersmith, where PC Tibble was fatally shot.
The Commissioner said:
The anniversary of PC Tibble’s murder will always remain a very sad day for the Metropolitan Police and a tragic event in policing history.
Even though he was off duty, he saw an incident where the lives of Londoners were at risk, and in trying to protect them, he made the ultimate sacrifice. He tried to stop a criminal running away from the police. Only 21 years old he was shot dead in cold blood. Today Met Officers take the same risks on behalf of the community. Today we remember Stephen’s courage and sacrifice.
On 26th February 1975 police stoped a man acting suspiciously in Fairholme Road, Hammersmith.
Liam Quinn, a volunteer in the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) tried to make a break for it.
Stephen Tibble was off duty on his motorbike but joined the chase when he saw what was happening.
When he dismounted from his bike and tried to stop him, Quinn pulled out a gun and shot PC Tibble three times in the chest and at point blank range.
The police officer later died in hospital.
He was only 21, married, and had been in the police for just six months.
Detectives discovered that Quinn had been harbouring a bomb factory in Fairholme Road.
They also found an automatic pistol and ammunition as well as English and Irish money, wigs and a letter addressed to another IRA volunteer.
These leads led to the arrest of other IRA volunteers.
Quinn managed to escape to Dublin.
He was not brought to justice until February 1988 when he was tried and found guilty of murder at the Old Bailey.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommended minimum sentence of 30 years.
PC Tibble was posthumously awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for gallantry in June 1976.
Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Gideon Springer said:
It was a real honour to meet the family of PC Tibble, a heroic officer who demonstrated the ultimate act of bravery and dedication all those years ago.
Having read what happened on that sad day, it is quite remarkable that officers, who saw a colleague being shot, continued to chase the suspect without fear for their own lives fully knowing that Quinn was now armed.
This is something that has not changed to this day and police officers continue to put their lives at risk on a daily basis to protect Londoners and people across the country.