London

Sidney Street murdered police trio honoured by memorial

  • 16 December 2010
  • From the section London

The victims of one of Britain's worst police killings have been honoured with a memorial, 100 years after the event.

Three officers were shot dead by an eastern European gang in a bungled east London burglary in December 1910.

The murders led to the famous Siege of Sidney Street, in Stepney, east London, in January 1911.

City of London Police unveiled the first memorial to Sgt Bentley, Sgt Tucker and Pc Choat at a ceremony at the scene of the tragedy.

On 16 December 1910, a gang of Latvian revolutionaries tried to rob a jeweller's shop in Houndsditch.

The gang fired on unarmed officers, killing three and seriously injuring two.

Two of the gang members escaped and hid out in rooms at 100 Sidney Street.

The police were tipped off by an informant and in the early hours of 3 January 1911, hundreds of officers surrounded the house and evacuated homes in the area.

Winston Churchill, the then home secretary, was in a crowd of thousands watching from the sidelines as hundreds of police officers and a company of Scots Guards engaged in a gun battle with the gang members.

During the siege, the two suspects were killed and a firefighter suffered fatal injuries.

A plaque in memory of the firefighter, Superintendent Charles Pearson, will be unveiled on 6 January, on the building that stands on the former site of 100 Sidney Street.

Donald Rumbelow, a former City of London Police officer, and author of The Houndsditch Murders and The Siege Of Sidney Street, said the memorial to the three murdered policemen was "long overdue".

"A lot of people know about the siege but don't know about the Houndsditch murders," he said.

Thursday's event was due to be attended by Lord Mayor of London Michael Bear and City of London Police Commissioner Mike Bowron, as well as descendants of the three officers.

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