Fallen Leeds sergeant remembered 30 years after death

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Serving and former police officers gathered to remember a fallen colleague - 30 years after he was gunned down on a Leeds street.

Sgt John Speed, who was 39, was murdered near what is now Leeds Minster on Kirkgate in the city centre by David Gricewith on October 31, 1984.

Serving and former West Yorkshire Police officers at the memorial to Sgt John Speed.

Serving and former West Yorkshire Police officers at the memorial to Sgt John Speed.

In an annual tradition, members of West Yorkshire Police past and present came together yesterday at the spot where he was fatally wounded to lay flowers.

Nick Smart, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “This happened 30 years ago in very tragic circumstances, in which an unarmed officer was shot dead.

“But sadly such incidents continue to this day and it’s important that we remember them all.

“Even though some time has passed, it remains strong in the memory of many serving officers and we will continue to remember the likes of John Speed.”

Sgt John Speed

Sgt John Speed

Chief Supt Paul Money, divisional commander of police in Leeds, added: “It’s an important tradition. A fallen colleague in Leeds is someone we will always make a point of remembering.”

Sgt Speed was shot after going to the aid of a colleague who was fired on during a routine check on two men acting suspiciously near Leeds Parish Church. PC John Thorpe, 33, who was first at the scene, had spoken only a few words when one of the men pulled out a handgun and opened fire. Gricewith, a garage owner and well-known crook, was only identified as the gunman after his own death more than two years later.

Former Det Chief Supt John Conboy, who lead the enquiry at the time, said: “We started to come here for the last 25 years in memory of John.

“We all knew him and served with him. He was a family man and he will never be forgotten.”

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